5 Steps Closer to College
By Kristina Cahill
ATTENTION ALL SENIORS!!
I know that you’re all super stressed about getting into a good college. For a lot of us, failing at this is the equivalent of failing at life, but my advice to you is: DON’T SWEAT IT. Take it easy and relax. For all those who are applying regular decision just follow these five simple steps and it’ll guarantee you a smooth ride to your college destination.
Step 1: TULANE OR UF? EMORY OR BOSTON?
This is the most important part of the entire college process. Knowing the specific schools you want to apply to makes it so much easier. To avoid wasting money on college applications, I suggest you make a list of all the characteristics you want your dream college to offer. The obvious ones you may want to consider are: the majors offered, the area of the school (if it’s a metropolitan city or a suburban small town), and the number of students. Don’t overlook other things that can impact your decision such as: sports teams, tuition, diversity, or reputation. I recommend you go to www.princetonreview.com and fill out the Counselor-O-Matic. This survey will help you determine which colleges are right for you.
Step 2: GET THE APPLICATIONS
Once you’ve narrowed down your college list, go to your CAP advisor or your counselor and request applications. Most counselors will have a few applications on hand but if not, they can always request one. If you want to apply online go to the college website and create a username and password. It’s always a good idea to print a copy of your completed application.
Step 3: BUG YOUR TEACHERS AND COUNSELORS
Most colleges will ask for counselor/teacher recommendations. Start early since teachers are required a minimum of a fifteen day notice, so don’t expect them to be sent out the next day. Also, take into account that you want to have this done before the holidays begin. Don’t expect you’re teacher to be writing you’re recommendation while eating Christmas dinner with her family that flew in from Bulgaria. When you ask teachers and counselors for recommendations have a resume on hand to give to them so that they know all the great things you’ve accomplished during high school, along with a stamped envelope marked with the address of the specified school.
Step 4: HAVE SCORES AND TRANSCRIPTS SENT IN
Hopefully you’re done with all the SAT and ACT trauma that we’ve had to endure for the past three and a half years. Since most regular decision deadlines are between January and March, it’s a good idea to have you’re scores sent in through collegeboard.com. You’re allowed to send your scores to four colleges for free, but after that it’s $7.00 each. To send transcripts, a transcript request form must be filled out.
Step 5: THE DREADED ESSAYS
College essays are very important in order to let your college know who you are on a more personal level. Take time out of winter break or even on weekends to create an essay that reflects the kind of person you are. These should be personal essays including topics that you feel passionate about since they always make the best essays. It’s imperative to have someone go over and read your essays to check spelling, grammar, word use, and over all content. Have these done before the end of December.
- I suggest you begin a college folder so that you can keep track of all the applications, letters, and forms. It’s a good idea to always have that handy and organized so that everything is right at you’re fingertips.
- Also, I know that most seniors worry about sending things in too early. There’s no such thing as too early. If colleges receive you’re transcripts two months before the actual application is in, they automatically begin a folder to store you’re things. The earlier the better!
- Students who have paid the SATs using waiver forms are automatically exempt from paying college application fees. If you qualify, go to your counselor and ask her about college fee waiver forms.