Managing the College Application Process

  1. Don’t get caught up in everyone else’s college process. Just focus on yourself and what is best for you. Everyone goes through the process differently and at a different pace.

  2. Make a list of schools that fit you academically and research them. You can use search engines that let you plug in preferences for major, academic ranking, school size, extra-curricular activities, diversity and more. Try out College Board’s Big Future feature or College Confidential Super Search.

  3. If you are unsure what your ideal school would look like, visit many different types of schools to see what you like best. Check out a small vs a large school, an urban vs a rural school.

  4. Consider how close to home you’d like to be when thinking about a college to go to.

  5. Try to picture yourself at each school you visit and think about whether it would be a good fit or not.

  6. Talk to the students and professors at the schools you are interested in to get a better sense of the school.

  7. When choosing a college, consider your financial situation in terms of the school tuition and the cost of living at that school.

  8. Ask for help when you need it from a school guidance counselor, parent or anyone else who can give you the support and guidance you need.

  9. Contact the admissions representative at the colleges you are interested in and ask them any questions you might have.

  10. Ask for college recommendations during the spring of your junior year so that everything is in place early on.

  11. Do the bulk of your college applications during the summer before your senior year.  

  12. Highlight the things about you that make you stand out in your applications.

  13. Have at least one person (preferably two or three people) look over your college essays to edit for grammatical mistakes and to give feedback about the flow and clarity of your essay.

  14. Start looking into scholarship opportunities as soon as possible.

  15. Once you narrow down your schools choices (maximum top three), contact your guidance counselor and inquire if he/she is able to provide names/contact information of alumni who attended and/or currently attend the colleges you are interested in. Reaching out to these students will allow you to gain in-depth explanations of the schools you are considering, from a first-hand source.

  16. The college application process can be overwhelming, but try not to let it take over your life. Keep exercising and eating well, and remember to set aside some time for yourself to relax and have fun. Taking good care of yourself will make sticking with the process a lot easier!