All About the College Application Process

college admissions, college applications, applying to college, college app, common appSerena is a 17-year-old from New York City. She occupies her time by reading, laughing, and chasing her dreams. She hopes to be a writer someday.


College applications are associated with being arduous and daunting. Fortunately, it’s really not as bad as it seems. Thanks to advances in recent years, it has become possible for students to apply to college entirely online: no paper needed! Not only does this save a few trees, but it also makes life much, much easier. In your senior year of high school, you will befriend You can fill out the entire standard college application online by typing in your personal information and uploading documents such as your college essay. Both teens and parents feel the stress of applying to college, so below are important notes for everyone:


For Teens:

  1. Make sure that you spend your time being proactive! Volunteering, having a job, taking part in internships, or enrolling in summer college courses are crucial when it comes time to filling out the CommonApp (it’ll ask you about any extracurricular activities, and you’ll have to write a short essay describing one particular activity).
  2. Consistently improve your grades! Colleges will receive your high school transcript, which will include your grades from Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior year. However, most colleges ask for you grades from your first term of Senior year, so don’t think that Senior year is the year to start slacking in school.
  3. Write about yourself in your college essay! You can essentially write about whatever you want to, just make sure that the essay is well-written, concise, and displays your character (in 500 words or less!).
  4. Hitting “Submit” on the CommonApp isn’t the end of the process! It’s up to you to send your SAT or ACT scores to every college you apply to, as well as your high school transcripts. Some colleges have supplements that are more specific to that college, so don’t forget to fill those out and submit them. Also, don’t forget to pay for everything; this includes submitting the actual application as well as test scores.


For Parents:

  1. It’s up to your teen! Don’t hover over teenagers or bombard them with daily check-ins. If they have a question regarding information required on the CommonApp, they’ll ask you. Otherwise, let them fill everything out themselves. When it’s finally time to hit “Submit”, then you can go through the entire application with your teen to make sure that everything is perfect.
  2. MoneyMoneyMoney! As if paying a college tuition wasn’t bad enough, you have to pay for applying to college. Typically, college fees range from $40-$60 online (paper applications tend to range from $80-$120). Many colleges offer waivers on these fees if your teen applies online, so take advantage of those waivers! SAT and ACT scores also have to be paid in order to be sent to every college, and you pay directly on the sites ( for the SAT and for the ACT).


Finally, here are some important dates and deadlines to help you out:

  • November 1st or November 15th: Early Action & Early Decision
  • January 1st: Regular Decision
  • May 1st: Transfers & Rolling Admission



Photo: rennnx3 from Flickr


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