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Applying to College

There are many ways to apply to college.  Here are some basic steps:

Applying to a Four Year Institution:

  • Gather information and applications from your choice of colleges and universities.
  • If you are applying to more than 5 colleges, consider using the common application. This allows you to submit one application to several colleges. Check the website to see if your top choices allow the common application.
  • Make a list of requirements for each college (for example, letters of recommendation, essays, transcripts).
  • Mark due dates on the calendar, and mark TARGET date for one week before applications are due. You will need time to get all the paperwork together and collect letters of recommendation, etc.
  • Don't wait until the last minute!
  • Sign up for Standardized Tests; if you have already taken them, send your scores to the universities where you will be applying.
  • Most applications will be due before the end of December; then you need to start applying for financial aid and scholarships while you wait for your letters.
  • Decision letters usually arrive before the end of April.

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Early Decision/Early Action Process

Early Decision and Early Action are for students who have isolated one university as a top choice. These students have already done all the research they need to know that this ONE college is the one for them. These students will also know that they have a reasonably good chance of being accepted. By looking at college guides and reading on college's websites, you can find the average GPA and average SAT or ACT scores of students who were accepted in a previous year. You can compare your grades and scores to see if you have a very good chance of being accepted.

Early Decision usually means that you send your application to your top choice much sooner than the regular application cycle. The college will let you know whether or not you have been accepted much earlier in the process. Those students can move on to financial aid and scholarship applications. Colleges will expect that you will accept their offer of admission, but you do not have to sign a contract.

You need to follow all of the steps listed above, but you will turn everything in sooner. You will concentrate on only your top choice for Early Decision.

Early Action is very similar to Early Decision except that by applying Early Action, the student promises to accept admission and attend the college. Before you apply Early Action, students need to be absolutely sure that this is the college for them.

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Rolling Admissions

When you research colleges, you will see that some say "Rolling Admissions" instead of a deadline for admission.

If you decide late into the process to apply to a four year institution, a college with Rolling Admissions might be a good solution. Universities with Rolling Admission will accept students until they are full. If you decide too late, there may not be any space left.

If your top choice college has Rolling Admissions, you should set your own deadline near the other colleges deadlines. It is important to be as disciplined when applying to these colleges so that you will have a good chance of getting into your top choice!

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