Understanding the College Process

By Albert Sadiku ’19

Applying to college can feel like a fulltime job, especially if you are applying to colleges with different admissions requirements.

Due to the numerous steps of the application, Ms. Lorrie Director, the college guidance counselor, advised that a good way for students to get started is to create a to-do list during their junior year of high school.

“Place the list on your bathroom mirror until next year,” said Ms. Director humorously. “Once you can see it visually, it simplifies a lot of things and it will take away a lot of the anxiety.”

A question that gets asked by students is which college application platform should I use? The answer to that question is The Common Application. There are other options, but The Common App is accepted by more than 750 schools.

“Students should be aware that on top of the main application, Common App schools often have a supplemental section,” stated Ms. Director. “The supplement sometimes includes additional essay questions, so students may need to make time for more writing.”

The college application essay is often referred to as a personal statement. There is a word limit of around several hundred words, so students have to be precise and concise.

“Usually the writing piece on the application feels very challenging,” said Ms. Director. “And that’s kind of by design, right. It’s a short, tiny amount of real estate for a pretty significant set of remarks.”

  There are four other parts to the college application that students need to absolutely be aware of.

The first part is stating personal information. In this portion of a college application, students will have to provide basic information about themselves, their school and their family.

The second part providing a high school transcript: a record of the courses students take and the grades they earn.

The third part is submitting the standardized test scores. Many – but not all – schools require applicants to submit SAT, SAT subject test or ACT scores.

Last but not least, students need to present letters of recommendation. Colleges often ask students to submit two to three letters of recommendation.

Some teachers may ask students to answer a few questions so they can have a complete profile on the student. Other teachers may ask for a copy of the student’s resume to help them the best possible recommendation. Students should request letters of recommendation well in advance of the application deadline – Ms. Director advises that juniors start now.

The college application process can seem intimidating, however, it is crucial that juniors know that they are not alone. They can seek advice from their teachers, friends, and most importantly their guidance counselors who will help them every step of the way.

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