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Senior Year 101: #3 Application Process

Lots to share with you today!

Colleges vary about what they require for college applications, but this is simple to find out by going to the college’s website and clicking on the Admissions (or Prospective Students) link, then Freshmen link (look for Application or Admissions Requirements). At least one or more of the following will be required:

  • The formal application form: Find this online (see the university’s website)

  • Standardized tests: SAT Reasoning Test or ACT scores (also: SAT Subject Tests, if required). You will need to go to the test's website to make sure scores are sent directly to each college to which you apply.

  • Current transcript (usually not needed until after first semester grades are posted)

  • Letter(s) of recommendation

  • Essay(s)

  • List of school and community activities and volunteer and/or work experience (Remember the activities resume I suggested you create last week?)

Parents and their senior should have a focused discussion about which schools to apply to and about the various options that MAY be available for application:

  • Regular Decision Admissions:

- Application deadline: Traditional, set deadline

- Decisions: Made on a uniform reply date—all acceptances sent out at one time after all applications are received

- Admission: No obligation to attend

  • Rolling Admission:

- Application deadline: May continue through winter until slots are filled

- Decisions: Made on a “rolling” basis, with replies generally sent out within four to six weeks of receipt of the application

- Admission: No obligation to attend

  • Early Decision:

- Application deadline: Earlier deadline than regular decision date (for example, Nov. 1, rather than Nov. 30). You only apply to this one school, which is your first-choice school.

- Decisions: Offers of admission are binding.

- Admission: You commit to attend the school if accepted.

  • Early Action:

- Application deadline: Same as Early Decision school—with probably even an earlier deadline. However, you CAN apply to other schools.

- Decisions: Offers of admission are NOT binding.

- Admission: You can accept another school if you change your mind.

NOTE: Make sure that if you’re applying under Early Decision, that this is your top choice and that you’re certain of the financing you will need. It is not considered ethical to apply to more than one Early Decision school.

So, now your task is to sit down together and talk about what colleges to apply to. Make a chart that compares the colleges that interest you, including such items as cost, number of students, majors offered that interest you, geographical location, size of city, athletics and more. The College Board's website (www.collegeboard.org) is a GREAT resource for quick information on colleges and even can provide a comparison for you. As you're investigating, check with your school's counselor to find out if you are eligible for fee waivers for some of your college applications (College Board provides fee waivers for students who get free/reduced lunch or some form of public assistance), which will be $50 and up apiece.

And if you need help on finding something on a college website, shoot me a comment, and I'll do the best I can!

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