The Tips For the College Process

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The college process has changed a lot in the past couple of decades — even in the past three years. My parents say there have been many changes since my sister applied to college in the fall of 2016. With the introduction of computers, it has become much easier to apply to colleges as most use one application form called the Common Application, or Common App. The Common App allows students to consolidate all of their applications into one place with the exception of certain schools, like Colorado School of Mines that have individualized application forms. However, while it has become somewhat easier for students to go through the application process, it is still very complicated and can be quite stressful. Here are some tips that I learned this fall.

One of the biggest parts of applying to colleges is taking the ACT and SAT tests. During my junior year, I was trying to figure out which tests to take and how many times I should take them. One of my senior friends offered me some very good advice on this matter. He said that I should take the SAT and ACT early in my junior year, and see which test I like more and how I score on each test. Then I should study for whichever one I liked more. That turned out to be a very good technique that worked well, and I would recommend that everyone who applies for college does just that.

Another very important part of the process is touring colleges to get a feel for what you like, what you don’t, and whether you will be applying to some of the schools on your preliminary list. The advice I would have for this part of the process is to plan ahead. I started touring colleges in March of my junior year and did a lot more tours in the summer. By planning ahead and grouping all of the schools I was touring by general location, it was reasonably easy to plan when the college tours would be taking place. The other advantage of doing college tours by group is that you are able to easily compare one to another while they are fresh in your mind.

There are also important odds and ends that can help make the college process easier, or if you want to express a special interest in certain colleges. One such thing that helps colleges know you are interested in them and to learn more about the college is attending the information sessions that are held here at Holderness. While they may technically be optional, they are very useful, and it is definitely recommended that you go to them. Through these meetings, you are able to learn more about colleges that you may be on the fence about applying to. Along with being useful for students to learn more about the school, the college representatives who come take note of whether or not you attend and this could help your chances of getting into a school.

The last and most important thing about applying is the Common Application and essays. Your college counselor will recommend that you have a solid draft of your college essay and your Common App done by the end of the summer. This is what I did, and by the time that deadlines came around, I wasn’t very stressed about applying. In terms of when you should write your supplemental essays, this should be done when you know for sure which schools you are applying to because if you write an essay and don’t end up applying to that school it is a big waste of time. Once all of your essays are done, have a peer and an adult (preferably with good knowledge about you as a person) review your essays. 

As long as you stay on top of the work you are supposed to be doing for your college applications and don’t procrastinate too much, it is relatively easy to complete the process. While it may at times be confusing and feel overwhelming, as long as you break it down into small chunks and chip away at it over time it will be fine.