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Applying to College Step by Step

Applying to college can be daunting, but taking a step by step approach will allow you to succeed.

Applying to college can feel like a full-time job, especially if you’re applying to colleges with different admissions requirements.

Specific college admissions requirements vary from college to college (always check with the ones you are applying to!), but luckily the basics are largely the same. There’s lots involved, so make sure you take care of all the details the college application requires.

1. Fill out the application.

As part of the admissions process, you’ll be required to fill out some basic application paperwork, which will include personal information about yourself and your high school career, like extracurricular activities you participated in.

2. Write the admissions essay.

You will also have to write an admissions essay when applying to college. Usually the school will provide a number of prompts for you to choose from. In some cases, you may be able to choose your own topic. Be sure to proofread your college admissions essay carefully.

3. Gather supplemental materials.

Supplemental materials may include items like a portfolio of personal work or a supplemental essay. In some cases, supplemental materials can help your application, but in other cases they can hurt your chances of admission. Be sure to carefully consider whether the supplemental materials or supplemental essays are a good idea for your application.

Some colleges also require college recommendation letters. These usually can come from teachers who are familiar with your work. Some students may also get recommendations from coaches, church leaders, community service organizers, or other adults who can attest to the student’s skills and work ethic.

4. Interview for admission (if necessary).

A student interview may be required in some cases, but usually for undergraduate admission this is not the case. Still, some schools will be willing to schedule a student admissions interview upon request. International students may find a student interview especially important.

5. Receive your acceptance letter!

Even if you’ve started getting acceptance letters, the process of applying to college is not complete! Once you are done deciding which university you would like to attend, you’ll have to let the school know that you have decided to accept its offer of admission.

After this, there will be even more paperwork to sort out, like filling out housing forms and signing up for campus meal plans. The school should send you all the information and paperwork you need.

Tips Just for International Students

Admissions requirements for international students applying to college will include some extra challenges. From taking the TOEFL or other standardized English language test, to obtaining a US visa, international students should be sure to find out what additional requirements they need to fulfill.

Make a List and Check It Twice!

Check and double-check that you complete all of the application requirements specific to your school and your situation. For example, the requirements for a first-time undergraduate will probably be different that the requirements if you want to transfer colleges.

By making a checklist of college admission requirements for the colleges where you want to apply, you can be sure the you won’t miss any college application deadlines or essential steps in the process of applying to college.

By making a checklist and giving yourself plenty of time, applying to college is manageable — even fun! — for any student.