If you’re an upperclassmen, there’s no doubt you’ve had questions about college. Completing the process may seem like a Herculean feat, but once you know where you’re going things will seem much more manageable.
1. Know where you’re applying
If you don’t even know where to start when searching, Naviance’s SuperMatch can help jumpstart the process! Try to take advantage of online tours and information sessions found on your institution’s websites. Think about class sizes, location, activities, programs, cost, majors, and climate. Take your time with this step, and create a well rounded list of safety (automatic admission), target (likely admission), and reach schools (unlikely admission).
2. Find out which applications you will be using
For Texas public colleges, you’ll likely be using ApplyTexas. Other common applications include the Common Application, Coalition for College, and Universal College Application. Sometimes colleges would like you to apply to them directly. Check the institution’s website! If you’re unsure, you can email your region’s representative.
3. Gather required materials/information
Luckily, these are usually listed both on the application itself and on the college’s website. Typical items are transcripts, recommendation letters, test scores, a resume, and essays. Make a list ahead of time, and don’t forget to request recommendation letters and transcripts at least a month before the deadline!
4. Know your deadlines
While every institution is different, most applications open August 1st, and generally the deadline to apply for Early Decision (binding) and Early Action (non-binding) is November 1st. The Regular Decision deadline is anywhere from December 1st to February 1st. Some colleges offer Rolling Admissions, but even that has a deadline at some point. Again, refer to the institution’s website to learn more.
5. Complete the FAFSA
The FAFSA is a document to gauge qualifications for things like grants, federal scholarships, work-study programs, and other forms of financial aid. The FAFSA opened October 1st of this year, and will be open until June 30th. It’s very tedious, don’t wait until the last minute!
6. Take a deep breath
So, you know what you need to do and when you need to do it. Then all you have to do is simply work on your application. It might be hard finding the motivation to do so, but remember: once it’s done, it’s done. You’ve got this!