College Process Resources
Choosing the right college can be a difficult and confusing process. In order to get the most out of the college process, please click the link below to make an appointment with one of our college counselors.
How many colleges should I apply to?
In most cases, 4-6 colleges. Students are encouraged to apply to 1-2 of each: “safety,” “target” and “reach” schools.
What do colleges look for when selecting students for admission?
Colleges look at a variety of things. The most important piece is your transcript, focusing on course selection, and GPA. Colleges also look at ACT/SAT test scores, essays, letters of recommendation (if required) and involvement in extra-curricular activities.
Do all colleges require an essay/personal statement?
No. If a college does require an essay/personal statement as part of their application, it IS an important factor. Remember, it is a way to differentiate you from all the other applicants who may have similar GPAs and test scores. The essay/personal statement provides a specific question or prompt.
What is an optional personal statement and when should I include it?
An optional personal statement is an opportunity to share/ explain anything that is not otherwise addressed in the application. An optional personal statement may be used to explain a dip in grades due to illness, a life altering experience, or any other significant issue/event that would enhance your application.
What is the Common Application?
The Common Application is a not-for-profit organization that serves students and colleges/universities. Students can complete one application for numerous colleges. Over 900 colleges/universities are members of the Common Application. Students should be advised that some colleges have an additional supplement to the Common Application.
For more information and a list of participating schools, please visit: www.commonapp.org.
When do I use Parchment?
Students should use Parchment for schools that are not on the Common Application and require an official transcript. A student’s counselor will take care of sending a transcript to the schools that they are applying to using the Common Application.
Please note: All final transcript requests must be made through Parchment regardless of whether a student applied to a school via the Common App or another type of application.
When is the best time to apply to colleges/universities?
The best time to apply to colleges is early fall of the senior year. Check each application for the deadline. Remember that different colleges have different deadlines but ALL deadlines are absolute.
What role do Counselors play in the application process?
Counselors will complete a secondary form and/or letter of recommendation if required as part of the application. Counselors can assist students with application and transcript questions.
How do I obtain a letter of recommendation?
Some colleges may require letters of recommendation from teachers and/or counselors. It is the student’s responsibility to request a letter from the appropriate person(s). Be sure to give them sufficient time (at least 15 school days) to write the letter well in advance of any deadlines. Recommenders may have a questionnaire that he or she asks you to fill out. This will provide them with important information that they will use to write a better recommendation.
What is the difference between applying Early Decision and Early Action?
Early Decision is a binding agreement between you and the college. If you apply Early Decision, you are saying to the school, “If you accept me, I will attend” and then you must withdraw all other college applications if you are accepted. Early Action is not a binding agreement. If you apply Early Action, you still have until May 1st to accept the offer of admission.
What is the May 1st deadline I keep hearing about?
May 1st is the universal candidate reply date. Once you have been admitted to college(s), you have until May 1st to examine all your options (re-visit the campus, review scholarship/financial aid packages, etc.) and select the one school that you plan to attend. It is only with the Early Decision option that the May 1st deadline does not apply.