This is your time to show the admissions team who you are! At first glance, it can be a very long and frustrating process, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you space it out and look at the resources below you'll see that it can be done. Keep in mind that you will not be the first or last student to have filled out a college application. Reach out to those older than you and see what other tips and tricks they can give.
My most important piece of advice is...DO NOT WAIT UNTIL LAST MINUTE!
Procrastination and college applications do not mix well.
All the work that you've done deserves its moment of glory.
This is the time to show it!
First, let's breakdown what the application usually consists of. (I say usually because each application is a little different.)
Your contact information, information about your parents/guardians
Courses & Grades
Here you'll put in your current and past classes and the grades you received (having your transcript or virtual counselor in front of you is vital for this section). Some schools require the SSAR (Self-reported Student Academic Record) and others require a transcript to be sent directly from the school. Most schools also require you to send a final transcript after graduation so continue to work even after you receive that acceptance letter!
What to include in your application
Activities, Work, and Family Responsibilities
This is all to show your life after and outside of school. Be sure to include hobbies, clubs, jobs, community engagement, and your family responsibility.
Honors and Achievements
Did you win any awards or receive a special accolade? This is to time to write it down.
You'll put your SAT and/or ACT score here. However, keep in mind that some schools are test optional which means it is not required to send your score but if your score is good you should send it as it may help your chances of gaining admission.
Letters of Recommendation
Colleges want to know how you view yourself but also how others view you in or outside the classroom. Ask for letters of recommendation from people who know you well. Make sure to ask for them ahead of time. If you're shy about asking or don't know how to start, click the button for a form you can fill out to help! Even if you don't use the form, make sure to give your references a resume or brag sheet that will help them get an even better understanding of you.
Essay/Writing Sample: This is where you get to talk about YOU. No more statistics or numbers that represent you just stories and your voice. It can be very intimidating and sometimes requires a bit of soul searching but it very important to the application.
Most interviews will be virtual and it's just a time to express yourself and show the admissions team who you are in person instead of just on paper.
Restrictive Early Action (REA)
Common App? Coalition? Direct? Common Black College Application?
There are several ways that applications can be through to colleges. The Common App, Coalition, Common Black College Application are some options. You can also choose to apply directly to the school you are applying to. Common App and Coalition are both general applications that can be used to apply to multiple schools. If you're looking to attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), the Common Black College Application is extremely helpful. With one application fee of $20, you can apply to the HBCUs. However, each school is different. Check with the schools you are applying to and see if they accept the Common App or Coalition and then choose which is most convenient for you. If all your schools accept the Common App and not the Coalition then that's the one for you!