By Quynh Luu

Applying to colleges is a stressful process for many seniors, especially for those unsure of what they need to do.  After all, there are other concerns of filling out forms, such as maintaining grades and keeping up with club activities.  Here are some helpful tips that should make the whole procedure easier:

  1. If you’re not currently a senior, think about starting applications during the summer. Although many students start on their applications during the fall, it would be a better to start earlier considering that first semester final exams usually occur during that season and winter.  Studying to pass those exams with flying colors is tough enough, so don’t try to pile on more work at that time.
  2. Many colleges and universities offer the chance to apply for early admission or early action. This means that students can submit their applications in advance to perhaps increase their chances of being admitted.  If you have your mind set on attending a certain institution, look into whether that place provides this opportunity for a chance to receive some major benefits.
  3. Remember that certain college majors may ask an applicant to submit other specific items along with the general transcripts and test scores. At UCLA (University of Los Angeles, California), an art major applicant would need to submit a portfolio of eight to ten pages along with their completed UC application.  At Yale University, an aspiring drama student has to provide three professional letters of recommendation.  Fulfilling all the requirements is crucial to being accepted into the major of your choice.
  4. Submit your standardized test scores. No matter how poorly you performed on the SAT and ACT, colleges and universities expect to receive them.  However, keep in mind that your chances of admission are also determined by other factors beyond those results such as volunteer hours and essays.
  5. Don’t be afraid to talk to your counselor and teachers. If you’re willing to open up to them, they can provide guidance and help you through problems concerning academic studies.  Remember, they all have had the same challenging experience of applying to colleges.
  6. Keep everything organized. You will have to find many documents to submit to colleges.  Losing one of them could greatly affect your chances of being accepted.
  7. If you are a student from a disadvantaged background, look into college application fee waivers. You will be able to submit an application to your dream college for a relatively low price if you qualify.
  8. Don’t wait too long to submit your application. Problems such as overloaded servers might occur if you turn it in on the day of the deadline.  The college application is a life-changing item, so it’s important that the one you send to admissions officers will be great enough for an acceptance letter.

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