Decide If Youll Apply Early
Applying early decision is one way to indicate your interest in a college, and in some cases, it might increase your chances of admission. Find out which colleges offer early admission options, know what the requirements and restrictions are of applying early, including when the early admission deadline is, and plan accordingly.
For more information about early decision and early action programs, and the pros and cons of applying early, see:
What Looks Good On A College Application 7 Key Elements
In addition to key personality traits, such as ambition, passion, genuine interest, and academic curiosity, what looks really good on a college application?
In general, a great application will have most or all of the following elements:
- A high GPA and a rigorous curriculum
- Strong test scores
- A specific, honest, and well-written personal statement
- A unique extracurricular interest or passion
- Volunteering experience with measurable impact
- Compelling letters of recommendation written on your behalf
- Work experience, particularly jobs related to your academic or professional interests
It’s OK if you don’t have every single quality listed above, but if you do, your chances of getting accepted to the college of your dreams will go way up!
Now then, let’s take a look at each of these qualities in more detail.
When Do You Apply If You’re Not A High School Senior
There are other timelines for applying to college besides the typical one that culminates in senior year. Maybe you want to work for a year or two before entering college. Maybe you have the opportunity to volunteer abroad or travel the world. Perhaps you graduated years ago and are now thinking about going back to school for your degree.
In these cases, you’ll still apply to meet the same early or regular deadlines or rolling admissions time frame. However, you might need to leave yourself extra time to collect all your application materials. Let’s consider each of the above situations individually.
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Volunteering Experience With Measurable Impact
Colleges love it when an applicant has not simply volunteered but has also made a measurable impact with their volunteering efforts. What does this mean exactly? If you have volunteered somewhere or for an organization, your assistance should have resulted in a noticeable, positive change to the group, community, or area you were aiming to help.
For instance, say you volunteered at a local library. Maybe the library was struggling to get funds to continue operating, and you came up with the idea to hold a 24-hour reading marathon in order to raise money. The fundraiser ended up making more than $5,000, a figure that would be a concrete indicator of the positive impact your service had on the library. With your college application, then, you could specifically mention how your initiative allowed the library to remain open.
Note that you don’t need to have assumed a leadership role in order to have made a positive impact through your service. That said, college admissions committees are often very big fans of students who show evidence of their budding leadership skills.
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Youve likely seen your senior peers enduring College Applications Season, but do most seniors begin work on their college applications well the fall and winter of their senior year? When does College Applications Season really start? In this post, we share our advice on when to start on your college applications, along with key college application dates and deadlines that will be relevant to most applicants.
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When Do You Apply For Rolling Admissions
Your timeline for applying for rolling admissions depends on a few factors and may vary from student to student. Schools with rolling admissions accept applications throughout a period of time, usually ranging from the fall to the spring. For example, the application for ASU opened July 1 this year and will remain open through Spring 2022.
Since most schools with rolling admissions accept applications on a first come, first served basissometimes notifying you of admission only a few weeks after you submitit’s advisable to apply as early as possible. Sticking to an early deadline of November or regular deadline in January, even though you don’t absolutely have to, is a good guideline to follow.
Not only will setting a deadline for yourself help you keep better track of your college planning, but it will help you apply early and thereby impress admissions officers, which gives you a better chance of admission.
Some schools with rolling admission also publicize a priority deadline, meaning students who apply by that deadline have an advantage. University of Maryland’s priority deadline, for instance, is November 1. They’ll still accept applications after, but you’ll have improved chances if you apply by then.
How To Apply And Fill Out Your College Application
You can start filling out college applications in October the year before you want to start college. College applications need to be finished by January. It takes a long time to fill out applications. You should start early and fill out 6 to 8 applications.
College applications cost about $40 each, so only apply to schools you really like. Colleges that are known for having the best education can be very competitive. This means that many students apply but most dont get in. If you are applying to very competitive schools, you may want to apply to some schools that are easy to get into as well. This is in case you do not get into your first choices.
If you know which college you want to attend, you can look on its website to learn about how to apply. This is what you need:
- A filled-out online application form
- A personal statement: this is an essay about why you want to go to this school. It is also a chance to talk about your skills and grades.
- Two or more letters of recommendation: letters from teachers or people you have worked for. These letters will say why the school should let you in.
- High school transcripts
- Test scores: for university, you will need to take an SAT or ACT test. These are tests on all the subjects you learned in school. A good score will help you get into college
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Overview Of The College Application Process
Many factors should be weighed while determining when to start applying to schools. While knowing when to apply is pivotal, knowing your own educational needs and requirements are just as pivotal. By researching schools, programs, and admissions requirements, you can help make the college application process easier.
What You Need To Apply To College
Depending on the number of schools youre applying to, between researching colleges, compiling materials, and everything in between, the entire college application process can take at least 100 hours to complete!
To make sure all those hours of hard work pay off and that you have everything ready by the college application deadlines, heres a guide to everything youll need for your applications:
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Freshman And Sophomore Year
Starting early will make the college search process considerably less stressful. When students begin high school they should also start thinking about their options for continuing their education. Have them talk to their guidance counselor about what classes they should be taking and what subjects interest them most.
Students can begin assembling a list of possible careers, majors and colleges that interest them. This is prone to change as they grow up and get a stronger sense of what it is they want to do, but it helps to think about it early!
To begin to get them thinking about the process, have your child take Majors Matcher to learn more about their personality, strengths, and interests and the careers and majors that would fit them best.
The right college for your student is one that fits them academically, socially and financially. For more on finding the right fit, see this article.
College Admissions Officers Want To Read Something Different
Introductory essays tend to be a bit cliché for many college admissions departments. They read several of these, again and again, every year. They dont want to read a formulaic essay. Instead, your college essay should show exactly what makes you unique. What could you bring to the school? What makes you different than the hundreds of others applying? Why are you interested in the college and particular major?
You also dont want to come off as a robot, reading off the script, or write only in vague sentences. Its time to put personality into your writing and make a lasting impression on the reader. Its okay to show emotions in your piece. You want to come off as authentic and give the college real insight into who you are.
A college essay is absolutely a way to introduce yourself to the college, but it shouldnt be taken so literally. Rewriting your application in the form of an essay is a waste of valuable time, for both you and the college admissions officer. Instead, focus on a unique way to introduce yourself. How can you stand out among the crowd? It may be a story about a moment that moved you, a life-changing event, or something else that is precious or memorable to you. Remember to stay on topic with what the college is looking for in the essay as well. If youre unsure about your approach, seek outside help, like from your high school guidance counselor.
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When To Apply For College In The Fall
Applying to college entails a considerable amount of planning. While you can start some parts at the beginning of your senior year of high school, it’s recommended that you request recommendation letters and take the SAT or ACT your junior year. This tip is especially important for those planning to apply for an early admission decision.
Early action and early decision are ideal options for students who are prepared to apply early their senior year. Often resulting in an admission decision by mid-December, these options give students plenty of time to relax and enjoy their final semester of high school. Additionally, students who apply early to college may enjoy higher acceptance rates than regular decision applicants.
To meet an early deadline, you should begin the application process the summer before your senior year, focusing your efforts on writing your essay, gathering letters of recommendation, and taking the SAT/ACT.
Though early admission is growing in popularity, most students opt for the regular decision window. For students who need additional time to compare schools, perfect their essays, or retake the SAT/ACT, regular decision may be your best option. Be sure to request letters of recommendation by September of your senior year, as teachers tend to get extremely busy in late fall due to midterms and other recommendation requests.
Whichever deadline you decide works best for you, just make sure you feel confident when you submit your application.
When To Start Your Application Process To Us Universities
We often receive a lot of questions about how to time the US admission process. So let’s discuss questions of when to apply to American universities here.
As far as the timing of US admission process is concerned, there are several misconceptions prospective students have. Here are a few of the examples
- The process can be completed quickly
- Students can apply whenever they want
- Secondary school/Final year exams must be finished before you can apply.
- Application time is always the same for every US University
- The admission calendar doesn’t have an end.
In the context of these misconceptions, let us make it very clear that the US admission process takes time, months even years especially for international students. The admission calendar and actual calendar overlap in some interesting ways. By 1st May every year, the long process is finished. Knowing the timeline and understanding the admission calendar is very important to your success.
For now, let’s discuss the timing of the complete admission process.
All US universities offer admission for the main intake which is the fall academic session. Keep in mind that here everything is discussed from the perspective of applying for the Fall semester. We will discuss the Spring intake later in the article.
This leads us to the question But I’ll still be in school/college at that point! How will I submit all of my information like final exam scores to the university?
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Create Accounts On College Application Portals
After creating a prospective college list, create accounts on their respective application portals in the summer before your senior year.
The Common Application, with over 900 member universities, is the most popular. The Coalition Application, with more than 150 member universities, offers resources to help all students gain access to college.
Some schools, such as the University of California system, MIT, and Georgetown University, have their own application portals.
How To Start A College Essay Table Of Contents
In anything you do, theres a special, pivotal moment.
I dont mean the moment when inspiration strikes or the last brushstroke is painted or the audience oohs and ahs over the final product. The point in time were talking about here is the Moment When You Do The Darn Thing . Its when you get off the couch, stop binging Netflix, and take action. Its when you put pencil to paper, fingers to keyboard, or *insert whatever other analogy feels applicable here.*
For many, getting started is the hardest part of anything. And thats understandable. First, because it turns whatever youre doing into a reality, which raises the stakes. Second, because where you start can easily dictate the quality of where you end up.
College essays have their own special brand of DTDT. Knowing how to begin a college essay is daunting. It can be hard to write an engaging, authentic opener. But without an interesting hook, you risk getting lost in a vast sea of applications. To this end, weve put together some techniques about how to start a college essay to make your DTDT moment a little smoother and a little less stressful.
First, lets talk about what you probably shouldnt do.
I say probably because Im about to share a few overused techniques that I dont recommend. Having said that, it is possible to pull them offtheyre just really hard to do well.
Want to read a few more college essay tips? Check out this huge list from admissions experts.
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When To Start Applying To Colleges
This timeline is informed by the College Board website and from some colleges’ academic support offices or newsletters. The Department of Education also has suggestions about timelines, and they offer a checklist you can post as your desktop wallpaper or print as a poster.
A year before you want to enter college, you need to do the following:
- Research your chosen major and make a list of colleges and universities that offer it
- Visit the websites of your favorite schools, and request brochures and other information
- Sign up to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the American College Testing exam, if you haven’t taken it already or if you need to retest to improve your scores
- If you hope to be recruited for a sport, file with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse
- Begin researching and applying for scholarships, if you haven’t started already
As soon as the school year begins, if not before, look over your transcript and senior year classes, and decide if they match your desired colleges’ expectations. You may need to add classes, especially in math, science or foreign languages. Your school academic counselor can help you with this.
Narrow down your list of colleges to get three or four favorites, and add a ‘reach’ or ‘safety’ school if that list doesn’t include one. A ‘reach’ school is one you think may not accept you, but you’d really like to go if they do. A ‘safety’ school is one you’re pretty sure will accept you.
When Should You Ask For Recommendations
Most college applications require you to submit two or three letters of recommendation from teachers or counselors who know you well. The good news about these letters is that you dont have to spend time crafting them! The bad news is that you need to ask your teachers to write them for you, which can be uncomfortable, since you are asking them to go above and beyond their everyday commitments.
With this in mind, you should aim to ask for letters of recommendation sooner rather than later in senior year. Ideally, you should broach the topic with the teachers who know you best toward the end of your junior year, giving them the whole summer to think about what they would want to write and craft an outstanding letter.
If you dont approach your teachers by the end of your junior year or over the summer before senior year, you should certainly ask them at the beginning of your senior year. Generally speaking, you should give your teacher at minimum a few months to write a letter of recommendation from the time you first ask then, politely check in every few weeks or so to see how the letter is progressing and ensure that your recommender doesnt require additional information . By giving your teachers plenty of notice and checking in periodically during your senior fall, you can do your best to ensure that you get a strong letter of recommendation from each of your teachers.
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