Get Ready Seniors: College Application Season Is Starting!

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Sofia Farres, Editor-in-Chief

It’s finally the beginning of the school year, which means it’s also the beginning of college application season!

Starting applications can be a scary and intimidating task, so I decided I’d share what I’ve been doing to get ahead and hopefully help out some seniors who are nervous about the process.

Over the summer, I researched the schools that were best for what I wanted to study. I then divided them into 3 groups—safety, target and reach.

My safety schools are the ones I know I can get into and can afford, my target schools are the ones I think I have a good chance at getting into or getting a scholarship for, and my reach schools are the schools that I’m not sure I’ll get into, but still want to try and apply to.

If you’re not sure what you want to study, you can still carry out this process by researching schools with a wide variety of majors so that you can explore different career options while in college.

Make sure that you’re choosing schools that would be a good fit for you. Definitely dream big and apply wherever you can see yourself, but also think about if you’d rather stay in Florida or leave, how much money you’re able to pay to attend, and don’t laser focus on only one option because there are endless possibilities.

Once I decided on the list of schools I’d be applying to, I started researching. I looked into everything, such as what their programs are like, what connections they had to important people and companies in my intended field of study, what student life is like, on campus housing, the percentage of students who graduate with a positive outcome, etc.

Since the pandemic is still greatly affecting the world, the majority of colleges aren’t offering in person tours. I was able to discover though that instead, most of them are hosting virtual tours and information sessions.

By visiting their websites, you can sign up for whatever days or times they offer and they will provide you with all the information you need to apply along with some general information about the school. Some schools offer more in depth information sessions for specific majors.

I’ve also discovered that even if a school isn’t offering a virtual information session or guided tour, there’s a great chance they’ll have a virtual walkthrough somewhere on their website that allows you to see the campus right from your computer or iPad.

Learning as much information about the schools you’re applying to as you can is extremely important because it will help you make your final decision and also with the process of writing your essays.

After you’ve researched and finalized your list (I recommend choosing between 5-10 schools), the next step is starting your application.

First, you have to check and see if the schools accept the Common App or if they have their own application.

If you’re applying to a school that doesn’t accept the Common App, they most likely have their own application on their website and you can begin filling it out directly on there.

If you’re applying to multiple schools that accept the Common App, I find that it is the easiest and most efficient way to fill out your applications. All you have to do is open an account and put in the names of the schools you’ll be applying to.

When you’re filling out the application, you’ll be asked to input a great deal of information, including your extracurricular activities.

Many seniors have expressed concern to me about whether or not they’ve done enough throughout high school.

My advice is to put as many things as you can and not stress too much about it. Try and think of every single thing you did throughout high school, whether it be sports, clubs or service, and include it.

You don’t need to have the largest resume to get into college. Even if you weren’t as involved in school activities or sports, you still have the chance to make yourself shine through other parts of your application, such as your essays!

Through the Common App, you’ll be able to access all of the prompts for the essays you need to write. Most schools will require supplementary essays that are specific to them, along with the general Common App Essay.

My best advice for writing these is to be completely honest and authentically yourself.

The whole point of the application process is to find the school that would be the best fit for you. When you show your true colors on your application, the schools that accept you will like you for who you really are, which makes it much easier to distinguish whether or not you would thrive there.

Starting these early is important because you will have time to brainstorm and make sure that you’re including everything you want. You also have time to write, edit, and rewrite as many times as you need to.

Do not save the essays until the last minute because they will not come out as well. They will sound rushed and won’t be as authentic. Give yourself time to really showcase who you are through your writing.

Also keep in mind that it’s good to get a head start on the application, but you should never submit anything without having someone look over it first.

Remember that the guidance department and your teachers are always here to help you through the process; just be patient and wait for them to get all the information they need because a lot is changing within the admissions process due to coronavirus.

Ms. Hoyos will be visiting all our classes in September with important information regarding these applications, so I urge you to not submit them until she speaks to you about how the process will work this year more specifically.

Once you finally submit your college applications, take a deep breath and let go. It’s out of your hands and everything will fall into place. The only thing left to do is wait.

Good luck, seniors! We’re all in this together and we’ll all end up exactly where we need to be.

 

 

Sent from my iPad