That's right folks. To be considered for many scholarships and financial aid, many college applications are due November 1st to be enrolled in the fall 2017 semester. Since I am your local overachiever, I have already applied to my colleges and have done my research to help you get through this stressful time.
Eeek! Due Dates
What is scarier than Halloween this year for high school seniors? College application due dates. What you must first do, is figure out what colleges you will be applying to. Once you have this list, decide if you are doing early decision, early action, regular decision or rolling admission. Do your research! Depending on what you choose, the deadlines for applications will change. Early decision and early action are typically due by November with acceptances and the unfortunate rejections coming in December or early January. Just remember that applying with early decision means you will be obligated to enroll while early action gives you until May for your final decision. Regular decision applications are due around January and February with a response from the college in March. Rolling admissions give many months to apply, but you will not hear back from a school for a longer period of time. Schools however will continue to accept students as long as they have open space.
Applying: Common App vs. Directly
With your list of schools and your application deadlines now in your heads, it is time to start applying. Look into your schools and see if they accept the Common App or only accept applications directly through their website. If your schools accept Common App, I HIGHLY suggest that you take advantage of it because it will make applying 100% easier I guarantee. By using Common App, you will only need to fill out the main application once and then just little bits of information specific to each college you apply to. If you do have to apply directly through a college's website, investigate what information you will need so that when you do sit down to apply you have everything readily available.
While the actual application is generally not stressful, if you need an essay, that is a whole different story. When researching schools you are interested in, look into whether you need an essay, multiple essays or what the essay is on. Common app provides three "common" essay prompts that schools accepting the college app will accept. Personally, one of the colleges I applied to did not need an essay, but the specific school that I was applying to within the college had a specific essay that I had to turn in with my application.
Letters of Recommendations
You are almost at the finish line when you realize you need letters of recommendations. Even if your school does not need letters of recommendations, depending on the competitiveness of the school, it is highly recommended that you get at least one letter. Depending on your high school this can be done through sites like naviance or can be turned in directly to your school of choice. When picking teachers, DO NOT wait until the last minute to ask because they have MANY other students asking for letters. Also keep in mind what your major will be when getting letters. If you plan on majoring in Journalism, have an english teacher, journalism teacher or school newspaper advisor write you a letter. If you plan to major in political sciences, have your government teacher write you a letter. When you ask, be polite, do it in person and have a résumé with where you want to go and major ready to give them. When a teacher completes and turns in the letter that they wrote you, send them a thank you. You can email them, bring them a gift or what I did was printed the attached file, cut the sides down and taped it around a Hershey's chocolate bar and left it on my teacher's desk with a hand written, personalized thank you on the back.
But Wait There's More: Honors College
PLEASE figure out if you are applying to your school's honors college. Often times, schools require separate applications, essays and letters of recommendations for their honors college. Do not miss the deadline because you did not do your research. Other times, schools will request/suggest you apply to their honors college after you have applied and been accepted based on your grade point average, test scores or other factors.
Please remember in this stressful time of your life to stay calm, cool and collected because this is not the end of the world. Relax, millions of other seniors are going through the same process and before you know it, you will be packing up your car to move into your dorm.
When you finally get that acceptance letter, celebrate fam you have earned it!
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)