It’s that time of year; leaves turn brown, coffee shops reek of pumpkin spice, and college application deadlines loom over students’ heads. Like most people, procrastination hits hard, where all dreaded tasks are put off until the last possible second.
It can be a bit daunting having to write all these essays and fill out numerous applications in a short amount of time, which is why at Empowerly, we help you stay on track and focused so you don’t stress about missing deadlines. Our college counselors are trained to aid and support students throughout their journey step by step. With our help, the admission process doesn’t have to be hectic.
Here is a rough timeline of the application process:
During the summer, you should be researching colleges you’re interested in applying to as well as considering a major. Make note of certain requirements, such as SAT or ACT scores. After contemplating your potential list of colleges, figure out what you need to fulfill their requirements. Sign up for SAT, SAT II, and/or ACT tests as needed, making sure you leave plenty of time for any exams you want to retake.
Also, familiarize yourself with prompts for admissions essays. Look at previous years’ prompts (if prompts are not yet released), as many prompts will be similar, and formulate ideas on topics or stories you can write about.
By August, the UC application and the Common Application will have opened, so be sure to create accounts and fill out the profiles. In the Common App, add all schools you want to apply to and look at what they require. Many schools have extra short essays to answer, and some have essays that are specific to your college of choice, whether it be engineering or letters & science. Be careful of these “hidden” essays! The CSU application opens later around October.
Prepare your academic resume. You will need to give them to anyone writing you a letter of recommendation. Most people will also ask for a sample of a personal essay and a list of colleges you’re applying to with a list of deadlines. Aim for at least two letters of recommendation from teachers.
Also look into scheduling interviews or campus visits for schools you’re interested in. Some colleges see this as a bonus because you made the effort to get in contact with the school.
Meanwhile, maintain your grades and extracurriculars in school, and study hard for standardized tests. Keep working on writing and refining your essays. At Empowerly, college counselors guide students, offering edits and suggestions as well as providing information about what colleges look for in a candidate.
Deadlines are drawing near, especially the UC application. Don’t submit at the last moment before the deadline, since the site can crash due to the high volume of traffic. Aim to submit your applications a few days earlier than each deadline to avoid any issues. Note any colleges that have earlier deadlines due to early action, early decision, or scholarship considerations.
Don’t forget to send in any SAT, SAT II, and ACT scores. See which colleges want all previous scores and which ones will take just your highest scores.
Even though most submissions are complete, the work isn’t over yet! FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, opens early, and it takes some time to fill out. You can also search for any scholarships, which also take time to complete. Many ask for essays, but often times a personal statement can be used.
Most decisions come out! Now is a matter of choosing which college you want to attend. Consider any financial aid or scholarships awarded.
After making your choice, send in any AP scores you have. If you are taking the last of your exams in May, then mark the college code on a scantron, and all your exam scores will be sent to the college of your choice.
If everything seems confusing, head on over to www.empowerly.com, where you can find more information.