Generally, most students apply to college in the spring before the fall semester in which they want to attend. Some colleges, however, offer early or other admission plans. Early admission can come with the stipulation that if you are accepted, you must agree not to apply to other schools. It's a limitation you should consider, especially if you aren't sure about whether you really want to attend a particular school and if you need more information about costs and financial aid.
You probably will need to complete and submit a different application for each school you are considering attending. Before you do that, check with the schools' admission offices to see if they accept electronic applications. Some schools use electronic application systems that allow you to submit a single application to multiple colleges and universities in print or electronic format. Check with the schools on your list for more information.
Most college applications will ask you for the following types of information:
- Personal data
- Family information
- Educational experience
- Test scores
- Academic experience
- Awards and honors
- Extracurricular activities (including school, religious, civic, and volunteer)
- Work experience
- Written essay
- Recommendations from teachers and counselor
- High school transcript
Keep the following in mind when completing your application:
- Read through the application before you start writing answers down.
- Note any deadlines, and give yourself plenty of time to meet them.
- Answers ALL questions. Don't leave anything blank.
- Follow directions.
- Type or print your answers.
- Be neat. Presentation is important.
- Include supporting materials (letters of recommendation, outstanding examples of your work or interests)
- Make a copy, in case it gets misplaced.
- Sign it.
- Include a check for the processing fee, if required.
- Practice writing the essay before putting the final version on the application.
- Fine tune your essay. Don't ramble.
- Have someone else review your draft essay.
- Be yourself in your essay.
- Don't exaggerate your achievements or abilities.
- Proofread your application. Better yet, ask a parent or a friend to proofread it too.
- In addition to your application, some schools might require a personal or telephone interview.