Where do you even start with the college admissions process? It may seem completely daunting, but we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about it. These steps will help you understand what colleges are looking for, and what you can do to improve your chances of acceptance.
Your admissions journey begins with the preparation you do before you even apply. If you’re in high school, this includes taking challenging classes and being attentive to your grades. Prepare for tests like the SAT or ACT, if you plan on taking them (we recommend it). You can always retake these, but studying hard for them will help you succeed on the first try. Many schools you may be considering will look at grades and test scores to help measure you against other candidates. You also need to examine your extracurricular activities. Are you involved in activities outside of school? Do you hold any leadership positions? Colleges are looking for well-rounded applicants, and extracurriculars are a good way to stand out.
Connect With Schools
As soon as you start considering a college, make sure you begin talking with their Admissions Department. Having an admissions counselor who can work directly with you to answer questions and walk you through the process will be invaluable. Connecting with a college (whether by researching, following social media, or talking to them in person) is also an excellent way to help you determine if it’s going to be a good fit for you.
The best thing you can do is start early. Make sure you know different requirements for the schools you’re looking at. Be particularly attentive of all the deadlines and materials you need to send in so you’re not surprised by anything at the last minute. When submitting any admissions essays, make sure that you’ve proofread thoroughly — and had others do so as well. If you have the option, applying early can help your chances at getting accepted as most schools admit a large percentage of students in the first round of decisions.
Investigate Financial Aid
Colleges make financial aid available to students who need financial assistance with college. To find out what different schools offer, speak to the Financial Aid Office about what they offer. Once you’re accepted to a school, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA to see the amount of aid you qualify for. Make sure you’re aware of other options to help you fund your education. These include federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. You can also find other financial aid opportunities, such as state scholarships.
Make Your Decision
It’s time for all your efforts to pay off. You’ve done your best to excel through your applications and waded through the financial aid process. Now it’s time to make a choice. You can do it! Allow yourself to slow down and take time to reflect on which school is best for you.
South College will be with you through every step of your admissions process. Find out more about our year-round applications and admissions requirements!