5 Tips to Make Applying for College Easier
Brook Road Academy is a college prep school and we expect our students to go on to college. In fact, 100% of our recent graduates went on to college or junior college. So, what’s the secret to getting into college?
The truth is that there is no secret, but there is help! Getting accepted to your ideal school is dependent on a variety factors, including your GPA, your SAT scores, recommendations, essays, and extra-curricular activities. There are, however, several things to keep in mind to keep the odds in your favor and streamline the application process.
Timing is key
This is the prime time to submit college applications for the 2017-2018 school year. The actual deadline to apply for regular admission at most schools is usually between January 1st and February 1st. It is important that you don’t rush to complete applications, as sloppy grammar and typos can reflect negatively on your application, but it’s equally as important not to wait until the last minute. Submitting your application early helps to show that you are a serious applicant. Additionally, college admissions officers get bombarded by applications in the last few weeks before the deadline, which makes it harder for your application to stand out. Even schools with rolling applications tend to favor early applications.
Confused about what to do and when? Here’s a great college planning checklist by BigFuture that can help keep you on track.
How you should apply
Check with the admissions office if you are in doubt about your college’s preferred application process, however the majority of colleges favor online applications over paper applications. Online applications are more convenient for colleges to sort, review and process. Some colleges actually waive or discount the application fee if you choose to apply online. Online applications can be more convenient for students too, since you can correct mistakes more easily, ensure that you are submitting all requested documents and know for sure that your application was received before the deadline (not that you’re going to wait until the last minute!).
There are several college application services that make applying easier and more efficient. These services have standardized the applications for multiple schools to allow you to submit one application to several different schools. Keep in mind that you will still have to pay an application fee to each individual school and you may be required to submit additional documents along with your application.
Universal College Application – Accepted by just over 30 colleges and universities throughout the U.S.
Coalition Application – Accepted by over 90 schools and offers financial aid support.
Common Application – Used by almost 700 colleges and universities. This service allows you to use an application progress dashboard so you can see the status of each application at a glance and receive alerts when important dates are approaching.
Make sure you apply to enough schools
Only apply to schools that you believe are truly a good fit for you, however apply to a variety of schools. Your preferences may change as you get closer to the end of your senior year and it is important to have options when your acceptance letters come in. You should apply to 5-8 colleges that include your stretch schools, ones that you are reasonably sure you will be accepted, as well as a couple backup choices.
Financial aid for students with less than perfect grades
Financial aid is not just for straight A students! Be sure to complete a FAFSA application to qualify for federal grants, loans and word-study programs. There are a variety of both need and merit based financial aid opportunities, so be sure to apply, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify.
You may be more likely to get financial aid at one of your backup colleges or colleges outside your region, which is another argument for applying to a variety of schools.
If you have aspirations of going to college, but struggle in school, give us a call. Or if you want to know more about how Brook Road Academy can help you get to college, please contact us.