Your Guide to the College Application Process

By Carmen Zheng ’17

The college application can sometimes be stressful and time-consuming without some tips and strategies. Here are some guidelines to help all seniors to successfully complete their college applications on time.


All seniors should have created their Naviance account which is a college career and readiness platform offered to students by the college office. It’s a handy tool for seniors to check their college match, their scores and if they met the requirement of a certain college.

Long recommendations from teachers and other documents are also sent to colleges through Naviance.

Common App

The Common Application also known as the Common App is an undergraduate college admission application that seniors use to apply to any of nearly 700 member colleges and universities in 48 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, China, and many European countries.

Seniors should have already created their account for the Common App as well.


College office requires three short recommendations from any teacher to know you. The short recommendations have nothing to do with the college recommendations. Make sure to ask three teachers to write the short ones ahead of time because it does take time to write them and as time comes you won’t want to rush your teacher for it. The forms for short recommendation can be found on the Midwood school website at the college and career tab.

Colleges, however, requires a long recommendation from a teacher. Request a teacher that you know well and who likes you. Try to ask a teacher that you did well in his/her class. The long recommendations will be sent to colleges directly from Naviance.

Personal Statements

The personal statement is a key point during the college application process. Since a lot of colleges aren’t doing interviews, personal statement is the key thing that you can use to tell colleges about you. Do not wait last minute to write your personal statement. Plan ahead. The personal statement should be something unique about you that no other person can copy. Right now senior English class already started preparing the students to write their personal statement. Another key reminder some colleges have their own requirement on personal statement topics so make sure you double check the colleges you are applying to, to see if they have any special requirements.

After writing the personal statement, ask your English teacher and some other English teachers to read it. Also, ask your friends to read it also. They can always catch some mistakes that you can’t find.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is a key point for students applying to college and a lot of students are curious how Collegeboard they will use it to help them pay off college tuitions. First, students can obtain scholarships to help them with their college tuition. Outside of the college office on the bulletin board, there are few options on scholarships which students can apply. Naviance and Midwood school website also have some scholarships as well. Colleges also offer merit scholarships, which are scholarships rewarded to students based on their grades. Other scholarships from companies or charities can be found online. Websites such as,, and allow juniors and seniors to do scholarship on their own. It is highly pursed that seniors check all three websites for scholarships. Also be aware of any scholarship scams online.

Other than scholarships, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), financial aid offered to all students by the federal government for low-income families. The highest amount granted for the year 2016-2017 is $5,815. Seniors now can create and FAFSA account and start filling out the information required by the federal government. Another financial aid called Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) are financial aid provided by New York State government if you are a senior who is a New York State residence and is going to colleges in New York. The highest amount granted for TAP 2016-2017 is $5, 165. Remember both financial aids are grants which mean it does not have to be paid back.

Another financial offered by Collegeboard is the College Scholarship Profile (CSS) which is an online application that collects information used by almost 300 colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside of the federal government. FAFSA and Tap are free to apply, however, CSS profile requires a fee of $25.

If you still have any questions after reading the guidelines, you can always go down to the college office and ask for help. The college office will always be opened for everyone for questions. Also remember do everything as early as possible so you won’t stress yourself out at the end.

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