10 Tips for Applying to College

During senior year, I often heard my friends complaining about applying to college. There are so many deadlines to keep track of, papers and forms to get together. Luckily, I did all of my applications early on so, my senior year was significantly easier. While it is a time consuming process, there’s ways to make it seem easy and painless, well as painless as possible. Here’s some quick tips on getting through the college application process:

  1. Take the SAT and ACT seriously. No one wants to wake up early on a Saturday morning to take a test but when it’s time to apply to colleges, you’ll see just how important these tests are. They can make such a huge difference in your acceptances and scholarship offers.
  2. Don’t slack off during senior year. Everyone I know had self diagnosed “senioritis” during our last year of high school and when class ranks came out and final transcripts had to be sent, they regretted it. Most colleges will require that you send transcripts at the end of senior year so, if you slack off, even if you’ve done well all of high school, they will see that and possibly revoke your acceptance.
  3. Get your applications done as soon as they come out. Not all college applications come out at the same time but, it’s best to get any and all of them that you will be doing completed as soon as possible. Even if some of yours aren’t available, it’ll help to have the common app, which is an application that many colleges use, done so that when yours do come out, all of your information is gathered in one spot. Senior year is full of so many opportunities and things to do that you won’t want to spend time during the school year working on the applications. Get them done A.S.A.P.!
  4. Write your college essay early. At my high school, college essays are an assignment during junior year in most English classes so, luckily, I had mine reviewed and revised multiple times before I could even begin applying. I wrote mine about being a mixed girl in a predominantly white area. Many schools and libraries offer college essay workshops, and often teachers will offer help during the school year. See what is offered and take full advantage essay of it.
  5. Find out which schools you’re applying to accept the common application. I made the mistake of doing the individual applications for colleges that offered them before checking if they accepted the common app. This ended up being a waste of time because many of the individual applications required essays different than the one I had written.
  6. Look for application fee waivers. Many colleges will offer fee waivers at open houses and tours. You can also call or look online to request one. The cost of college applications can really add up so take advantage of application fee waivers wherever you can find them. Even if it’s to a college you weren’t planning on applying to, it doesn’t hurt to apply if it’s for free!
  7. Apply to all of the schools you can. Even if you think a college will be unaffordable, you may be surprised. I applied to over 10 schools, even ones I didn’t think I could afford, and I’m so glad I did. The common app makes it really easy to do this so, take advantage of that too!
  8. Visit all of the schools you can. Almost every weekend for all of autumn during my senior year, my family and I visited schools. Not only is it a great opportunity to spend time with your family but, it’s also really important to see your school before accepting an enrollment offer. When I was down to 3 schools to choose between, I even visited them all again. If it’s possible, you should try to go during the summer so that you don’t miss school but, whenever you can go, get there!
  9. Be realistic. If you can’t afford a school, don’t get your heart set on it. If your parents don’t want you going out of state, don’t set your heart on a school on the other side of the country. I had almost completely ruled out my top choice for college before I heard back about scholarships because, having received no financial aid, I didn’t think it was an option when there were much cheaper schools in my area. However, when scholarships came around, I got the surprise of a lifetime and ended up being able to afford my top school and, the surprise was even better because it was completely unexpected. Even if it hadn’t worked out as it did, I wouldn’t have been too disappointed because I had tried to be realistic about my options.
  10. Be open minded. As many of my high school teachers said, you will be happy no matter what school you end up at. If you don’t get accepted to or can’t afford your dream school, time to get excited about the schools that are options. What is meant to be will be and you will end up at the school that is best for you.

If you have any questions about the process of applying to college, or any other questions, leave them in the comments or message me:

Instagram: oliviadmartinez

Twitter: @olivia_m518

Good luck with your college applications!

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