College Application Tips

College Application Tips
Posted on 09/25/2019
College Application TipsHelpful Tips for the College Application Process
Evan Williams
Staff Writer

The college application process can be a confusing process for any student, no matter the grade level. Cumberland Valley students have faced this stressful process for years, and it continuously grows more competitive and tedious. With that being said, any list of tips on what to do and when to do it can benefit students applying to college.

Tip 1: Begin Preparing Your List Early and Start Your Visits

You can start your application process at any time, and the very first step in doing this is creating your list of colleges. In doing so, there are a number of important factors to consider. Does the college have your intended major? Will you have a good chance to get into this school? Will you enjoy going to this school aside from the academic side of things? These are incredibly important questions, but you must also consider the cost, campus life, the graduation rate, the surrounding area, and a number of other factors. A great way to organize your list is to find reach schools, fit schools, and fallback schools, all of which will provide you with a plan as to where you might want to go.

Tip 2: Start Your Common App and Other Online Applications

Many schools use the Common Application, a universal application that only requires you to fill out one full application, rather than filling one out for every school you want to go to. This can be completed at whatever pace you want, and it asks for information such as your personal details, grades, standardized test scores, and clubs and activities. There are other applications out there as well, such as the Coalition Application, and each school will have its own individual application if you choose not to use a universal application.

Tip 3: Work on and Revise Your Essay

This one is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the process. Your essay is what will separate you from thousands of other applicants to any given school. The application you choose to use will provide you with several prompts, or you can use your own. After you put a lot of thought and effort into your rough draft, it is always in your best interest to get your essay revised by an outside source. A great person to seek out for this would be your English teacher, however anybody with a good knowledge of writing should suit your needs for this. Always remember that colleges can, in some cases, accept or deny you based off of your essay. If you fall a bit under the qualifications of a school your interested in but write an amazing essay, you may be in luck!

Tip 4: Apply for Scholarships

College is incredibly expensive, just about everybody knows that. Any way you can get some money off of your school expenses can be a life saver, and perhaps the best method is through scholarships and grants. There are millions of different scholarships and billions of dollars offered every year to students who apply for scholarships, and there are so many great sources for these. Don’t know where to start? Try using a website such as Scholarships.comThis tool will help you find grants and financial aid that will help you pay for college.

Tip 5: Get a Head Start

If there is one thing you take away from these tips, it should be this: get started on the process early, especially ahead of your peers. Getting your standardized tests out of the way and improving them as well, building up your resume, writing your essay and having time to revise it, and seeking out letters of recommendation before others do will alleviate a great deal of stress come senior year. Giving yourself time to do all of this, and doing it right for that matter, is one of the most important pieces of advice you can receive.

Additionally, certain forms of student aid are given at a first come, first served basis, meaning it is almost essential to get a head start. If you find that you’ve gotten everything out of the way come November, you can apply for early action with many schools. This gives you priority over students who applied for regular decision and can increase your chances of getting into your desired school. Another important benefit to this is that you hear your decision earlier than others do, giving you more time to plan for life at the school you’re attending.

This process can be scary, but it’s the same for just about everybody. Getting ahead on these tasks and following these tips are a surefire way of being in a comfortable spot when deadline day arrives. Above all of this, relax! If you have a desire to further your education, then rest assured, there is a school out there for you!

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