The College Application Process: Are You Prepared?

The decision to go to college is a big one. Finding the best college for your future plans is key. Many college-bound students don’t have much of a clue what their career plans are, other than one that will provide a six-figure income right off the bat. The wise student creates a clear plan and prepares for the process.

Do You Know Where You’re Headed?

Guess what? You don’t have to plan out your entire life this spring! That said, you do, however, want to have some idea of the path that interests you most right now. If you don’t have any idea, that’s okay. There are resources available to help you discover those hidden abilities and interests.

Colleges often have particular areas of study for which they are known. For example, some colleges are well known for their science departments, while others are known for graduating top-quality teachers. Some schools have an emphasis on research or theory in a particular field, and another one will be known for teaching the practical applications in the same field. The former is great for researchers or those interested in teaching the subject, while the latter caters to those who actually plan on working in the field.

Choosing the college that best fits your intended career path will be helpful and may give you a more meaningful experience. On the other hand, if you have yet to decide what path you want to take, consider liberal arts to get a broader view of areas you may have an interest in. You may even want to begin at a two-year college.

Create a Checklist for Needed Information

The application process for college can be very involved. Each college has specific requirements for the application process. Some of the basic things you will need for this are:

  • High school transcripts
  • Midyear grade report
  • Letters of recommendation
  • SAT/ACT test scores
  • Personal essay
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Keep in mind, this is a very basic list. There is more that will be required by the schools you wish to attend. Be sure to check deadlines for all applications. Find out if there are admission tests required. If so, put those on your list as well.

The Importance of Deadlines

There is little more frustrating than missing an important deadline. Be sure to keep track of all deadlines, and give yourself plenty of time to do what needs to be done. These dates have a way of creeping up silently and passing by before you know it if you don’t stay on top of them. If you know you are prone to procrastination, move the deadline up a few days – and make a point to deal with procrastination; it won’t do you any favors in college and it definitely doesn’t work in real life!

Enlist the Help of Others

Your high school counselor is a good resource for information and support during this process. Counselors have access to multitudes of information about colleges and universities as well as financial assist programs, including what grants and scholarships are available. Take advantage of these resources.

Talk to your parents about your plans, and get their help. They may be able to help you stay on task. Applying for college can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Your parents may be able to relieve some of the pressure you feel.

Trailhead Consulting is another resource available to you. Through our assessments and advising, we can help you determine the career path that will lead to a fulfilling future. Contact us at 612-225-5343 (or toll-free at 866-921-3476) for more information about how we can help with your college application process.