Today’s post is by campus correspondent Sierra Woods. Learn how you can become a campus correspondent, too!

College application deadlines are looming. Students all over the world are preparing to make a decision that is just as scary as it is exciting.

For those looking to attend college in the US, you’re about to choose where you want to spend the next four years of their life.

So as a US high school senior, how did I approach this kind of choice?

The Secret to College Applications

The most important step in college applications is to gather the application forms for the schools you are interested in and apply, apply, apply! It is essential to send in your application to several different schools, not just your first choice school. Think of it this way: it is better to give yourself several options than restricting yourself to only one school.

I was lucky enough to hear back from my first choice school, Arkansas State University [ASU], in less than two weeks. The application only took me 15 minutes to complete and I was very happy with the quick response. ASU provided me with in-state tuition even though I live in Missouri, which was a great incentive for applying.

Also, applying early to college may give you advantages before you even begin classes, such as more scholarship opportunities.

Many schools also offer additional incentives to those students who apply before a specified date. These may include early dorm room or class selection. Getting these applications in quickly means a better college life and a less stressful senior year for you!

Check Out College Financial Aid

Arkansas State University provides students with automatic scholarship opportunities when you apply early.

I was only eligible for one of these scholarship opportunities since I am an out-of-state student. However, because of my early application, I will be receiving the $2,000 annual Beyond Boundaries Scholarship while I attend Arkansas State.

Also, when I visited the campus over the summer I placed my $100 down payment for my housing fee. At Arkansas State University, students receive housing priority by the date the down payment is paid. Getting my application in before December 1st and placing an early down payment will allow me to live in the dorm of my choosing during my freshman year.

While applying to schools, you should look into the financial aid options that each school has to offer. Financial aid is an important factor to consider when choosing what college to attend.

Consider Grants and Scholarships

Check each school’s scholarship and grant opportunities.  Schools with higher tuition may become less expensive once you add grants and scholarships.

Arkansas State University only provides two scholarships for out-of-state students; however, ASU has several privately funded scholarship opportunities for students both in and out of state.

Some of these scholarships can even cover the full cost of tuition. These scholarship opportunities were one of the main reasons why Arkansas State University is my first choice college.

In addition to your school’s institutional scholarships, search for national and local scholarships. Local business like banks and insurance companies often offer scholarships that are specific to students within a certain school district, so ask!

And take advantage of scholarship search websites; these websites will allow you to apply for additional scholarships which may mean more money for you. (University Language Services offers several scholarships throughout the year, which are available to both national and international student, so check in frequently!).

Every student wants to make the most of his or her college experience. Preparation for college applications begins now. If you apply to several colleges, apply early and make sure to take advantage of scholarship opportunities.

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John Carson
John Carson
7 years ago

Local scholarships can be key. Many students overlook them which means you’re competing with less students than you would be for scholarships through your school. Also, applying early can help your chances of getting into a school, especially if you apply early decision. At the end of the day you need to be proactive to be successful in the college application process. Great tips for those just starting the process.