Tips Before Applying to College


Katelynn Hexamer

Things to know before applying to big schools.

Madalyn Cottrell, MVcurrent Writer

Applying for colleges can be a stressful time of the year, especially for seniors and graduating juniors. As deadlines for application submissions approach, here are a few things to take into consideration when applying for different schools.


  1. Apply for Any Scholarship Possible: Academic merit, talent, and athletic scholarships are hard to obtain. But if a student meets the qualifications to win these scholarships, by all means they should apply. But there are different resources for students to access scholarships as well. Different websites such as Tallo and Cappex offer hundreds of different scholarships ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Apply for as many of these as you can as most of them do not even require applicants to write an essay. Local counties also offer scholarships to high school students in their district. College is expensive, so every penny counts. High school counseling websites are also a great resource for students searching for scholarships they can apply for. 
  2. Apply to Schools As Early as Possible:  Do not wait until a week before deadlines to submit applications. Take time filling out applications, and devote the time to really make them stand out. Students are competing for spots, and the earlier they can get an application in, the better. A lot of colleges are also not requiring the SAT or ACT because of complications caused by COVID-19, so submitting applications before taking either test is also a possibility. 
  3. “Brag” About Yourself: Colleges receive hundreds, if not thousands of student applications each year.  When writing essays and filling out applications, do not be afraid to brag. Highlight what looks good, and what makes you unique. Ask for recommendation letters from people who know you well, and make sure to do this well in advance so they have plenty of time to write you a stellar letter. Make sure to record every service hour, leadership position, and extracurricular. Do not leave out a single detail, and try to convince the admissions boards why you are the best fit for their school. 
  4. Take the SAT or ACT if Possible: A lot of schools will offer academic money to students who perform well on the ACT or SAT.  Although some colleges are not requiring test scores, students should still consider taking it if possible. Many colleges offer many academic merit scholarships to students who achieve their preferred score. Taking the test and securing a high score may help students, who have a GPA of 3.6 or higher, obtain these scholarships. 
  5. Have a Backup Plan: There is a chance that the school you apply will not accept you, and there is also a chance that the program you audition for turns you down. Having a safety school or a secondary career plan is super important to keep in mind because everything might not go according to plan. 
  6. Apply to Private Schools: A lot of private schools want students they know will be committed. They also grant more scholarships, and their more intimate campuses provide a quieter and less distracting learning environment compared to bigger state schools. Private schools are more expensive, but don’t let the initial cost scare you away from applying to these schools. 

These are just a few things to note for students who are starting to think about applying about college. Deadlines and acceptance letter arrivals are closer than they seem, and being as prepared and as organized as possible will only push students onto the right path.