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6 Steps to Get Ready for College Admissions

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6 Steps to Get Ready for College Admissions

Prepping for college admissionss can be stressful, especially if you’re applying to the average five to eight colleges like most students.

Added into the mix of high school homework and extracurriculars, the college search can quickly become overwhelming. Many different steps in the admissions process can lead to disorganization and burnout.

In order to make the process smoother, begin by researching the colleges you’re considering.

Find out what is most important to you in a future university. Ask friends, teachers, and family members about their college experience.

Then, follow these tips to prepare for the college admissions process.

1. Research the College

It’s important to learn everything you can about a university during the admissions process. Researching the college’s mission and academic philosophy can be extremely useful.

A university’s values can help you answer the common “Why do you want to attend our college?” application question. Not only will research help your application, but it can provide you with a better understanding of the university’s academic programs.

When browsing their website, take a look at the faculty. Find out what their research areas and job experiences are.

Check out class offerings and course descriptions. Explore experiential learning opportunities like service learning and study abroad. All of these aspects can greatly enrich your college experience.

2. Take a Tour

Visiting campus can provide you with a valuable perspective of the university’s culture and facilities. Being on location can give you a feel for what life will be like on campus. While on campus, there’s a lot to do and see.

Creating a college tour checklist can make your visit simple and meaningful.

While on campus, be sure to visit a dining hall and dorm room. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, so it’s important you feel safe and at home. Ask about career services and other resources available to students.

Talk to current attendees about their experience at the university. And, don’t forget to take notes and pictures.

3. Meet with an Admissions Counselor

While on your campus tour, you will probably meet with an admissions counselor. This is the best time to get all of your questions answered.

From campus organizations to study spaces around the university, admissions counselors will be able to give you insider details. They can even help you decide which major is right for you, which is often the hardest choice of all.

Get creative with the questions you ask admissions. Odds are, you can find a lot of basic information online. Ask them about campus traditions and how they’d characterize students who go there.

They can provide insight to help you decide if you belong there. You can also ask if they offer any support to help freshmen integrate on campus. Admissions counselors are there to answer your questions — take advantage of your time together!

4. Prepare for the Cost of Attendance

Financial aid can be an important deciding factor during the admissions process. Whether you’ll be taking out loans or receiving merit-based scholarships, you’ll want to talk to a financial aid counselor.

These professionals can help you set up payment plans and explore loan options. They might also be able to point you in the right direction to find additional funding.

When applying for aid, you’ll want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. With this application, the government can offer appropriate grants and loans as well as confirm eligibility for work-study programs.

Universities also use FAFSA information to award their own financial aid. You’ll want to apply regardless of the amount you receive from the program. Also remember, each state has different FAFSA deadlines.

5. Create a Strong Support System

Having a strong support system is vital to the college admissions process. From a shoulder to cry on to a hand to high-five, having people in your corner to cheer you on is important.

Your support system can include friends, family, counselors, and teachers. Maybe your support system will have coaches, an admissions counselor, and/or a pastor. Regardless of what your crew looks like, make sure you have a safe space.

Your senior year of high school is filled with a lot of changes and lasts.

It’s okay to feel a range of emotions. Your support system is there to celebrate with you and encourage you to keep going. Ask people to support you during this time. They’ll probably enthusiastically say “yes!”

6. Get Ready for Applications

College admissions applications can be tedious. In some cases, colleges will have a specific essay prompt or questions for applicants to address. However, over 900 colleges utilize the Common Application.

This application is used for both first time students and transfer students and can make the admission process simple.

In addition to an essay, university applications will request your high school transcripts. These will likely be submitted by your high school counselor. If you’re unsure, you can always check with an admissions counselor.

You will likely also need letters of recommendation. High school teachers or your boss at work are great individuals to ask for recommendations.

Starting the application early will allow you to have time to get any questions answered before the deadline. When preparing for college admissions, there’s a lot to think about. There’s also a lot to keep organized.

Remember, it’s okay to ask questions. Take one deadline at a time, and you’ll be packing for freshman move-in day before you know it.

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