There are so many steps to the college application process: filling out forms, writing essays, asking for letters of recommendation, going on admission interviews, sending in test scores, and more! It can be a lot to keep track of, which is why we’ve compiled all our best advice to help you complete your college applications step-by-step. Learn how to get a head start, perfect each part of your apps, and survive with relatively little stress by checking out our favorite articles below.
Getting a head start on your college applications
- 5 Ways Students Can Prepare for College Applications: Using the time you have at home to get ahead on your college applications is just smart. These five quick tips can help you prepare to apply to college!
- 3 Smart Steps to Creating a College Application Strategy: The best way to complete your college applications is by having an application strategy. Here are three important steps to understanding and building your game plan.
- Summertime College Application Preparations: Summer is a great time to work on your college search and applications. Here's what you can do to prep whether you're a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior!
- How to Get a Head Start on the College Application Process Junior Year: College applications can be stressful, especially if you leave all the work for senior year. Get a head start while you're a junior with these tips!
- 5 Ways to Get a Head Start on the Admission Process: It's always a good idea to be thinking about your college applications. Doing these five things now will help you stand out in the admission process later!
Filling out applications during senior year
- Senior Year College Application Timeline: September of senior year is college application crunch time! Check out this handy timeline so you know what to do and when to do it.
- How to Motivate Yourself to Start College Applications: You know you have to start your college applications, but you could use some inspiration or something at this point. Here's the motivation you're looking for.
- When and How to Apply to College: When's the best time to apply to college? Should you submit an optional essay or test scores? There's no one right answer to all these questions. See why here.
- The Essential Step–by–Step Guide to College Applications: The college application process can be stressful. But with this step-by-step guide, you can get organized and apply to colleges with ease. Check it out!
- How to Build the Perfect College Application: It's only a few sheets of paper, but when it comes to attending your dream college, your college application is the most important document in the universe. Here’s how to perfect yours.
- Top College Application Do's and Don'ts: There's a lot to keep track of when you're applying to college. Here are the most important do's and don'ts of the college application process to keep in mind.
- How to Fill Out the Common Application: Applying to college got easier with the Common Application, but the application can still be daunting. Here's a step-by-step guide to the Common App.
Following application deadlines
- 5 Types of College Application Deadlines: Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision...there are so many choices for college application deadlines! Here's a breakdown of five you need to know about.
- Applying to College Early: What You Need to Know: Early application deadlines (Early Decision, Early Action, etc.) will be here before you know it. Here's what you should know.
- 3 Types of Popular College Application Platforms: Which college application platform are you using? There are many, including the Common, Coalition, and Cappex Applications. Learn more about them here!
- What You Need to Know About Rolling Admission: Rolling admission is a good option to help lessen the strain of the college search for some students. But what exactly is rolling admission? Find out here!
Filling up the activities section
- Extracurricular Activities in the College Admission Process: Extracurriculars are an important part of your college applications, but you should focus on quality over quantity. Impress colleges with these top tips!
- 5 Tips for Choosing Your Extracurriculars: Extracurriculars look good on your college applications. Here are a few tips for picking out which activities to participate in.
- Community Service Can Help Your Application Stand Out: You want your application to stand out from the others. Community service is one way to set yourself apart from the crowd.
- Top High School Activities to Boost College Applications: Being involved in high school activities will boost your applications, but where do you start? Here are some of the top activities colleges love to see!
- How to Boost Your Extracurriculars During COVID–19: How can high schoolers participate in extracurricular activities and prepare for college in the middle of a pandemic? Read advice from a real student here!
Writing your admission essays
- Why Your College Application Essay Matters: Worried about writing the "perfect" college application essay? Guess what: admission officers don't want perfect! One admission insider explains.
- 5 Ways to Brainstorm Your College Essays: It's time to write your college application essay, and these five brainstorming games are going to help you do it! Check them out here.
- How to Write About Yourself in Your College Essay: There's a place between humble and prideful, and it's the exact place you want to set up camp while writing your college application essays. Learn how with this advice!
- How to Stand Out With Your College Essay: We're bringing you the top five tips for standing out in your college essay, straight from admission officers!
- Top College Essay Tips From Admission Insiders: The college essay can help your application, or it can hurt it. You want to stand out in a good way...and these admission experts know how you can do just that.
Considering test scores and GPA
- What Colleges Are Looking for in Your SAT/ACT Scores: You put all that time and effort (and stress) into taking the SAT or ACT...but why? What are admission folks thinking when they see your score? Find out here.
- What Is More Important: Your GPA or SAT Scores?: Knowing how all your college application info is weighed into the admission decision is important, but which is more important: your GPA or your SAT scores?
- What Is Test–Blind College Admission?: What is a "test-blind" school, and what does it mean for college admission? Watch this video to learn more!
- How to Make a Good Impression Without Any Test Scores: Many colleges are now test-optional, yet they still review standardized test scores. But what if you didn't take the SAT or ACT? Here's what you can focus on.
- 9 College Admission Tips for Students With Bad Grades: Even if you have a bad high school GPA, you can still make your college dreams a reality. These tips will help you get there.
Asking for letters of recommendation
- Top 5 Questions About Recommendation Letters: Need recommendation letters for your college or scholarship applications? Here's what you should know, including who to ask, when to ask, and more.
- Who Should I Ask to Write My College Recommendation Letters?: College applications stressing you out? Recommendation letters are the easiest part! Use the following rules of thumb as a guide to asking for them.
- Letters of Recommendation: Who, How, and When to Ask: If you play your cards right, you won't have to stress about asking for a letter of recommendation. Here's who to ask, how to ask them, and when to do it.
- The Top 5 Do's and Don'ts for Letters of Recommendation: Whether you need a recommendation for college, an internship, or a job, you need to request it at the ease of your recommenders. Here are some do's and don'ts!
- Video: Asking for a Letter of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation are a crucial part of the college admission process, but who and how do you ask for them? These teachers have the answer.
Going on admission interviews
- College Admission Interviews: Everything You Need to Know: How do you nail your admission interview? A college admission counselor spills his top tips for knocking their socks off.
- What to Expect From College Admission Interviews: Even when they're not required, college admission interviews are often a good way to bolster an application. Here's how to tackle your admission interview.
- The Hardest Admission Interview Questions: What do you do when an admission interviewer throws you a curveball? Find out what the hardest admission interview questions are and how to answer them!
- How Should I Prepare for a Virtual Admission Interview?: Since the coronavirus pandemic, many colleges have switched from in-person interviews to virtual ones. Make sure yours goes smoothly with this expert advice!
- How to Ace Your College Interview: The college admission interview may be the first interview you've ever participated in, but it's not as scary as you might think! Here's how to ace yours.
Increasing your chances of admission
- What Do Admission Counselors Look for in College Apps?: Students don't often know exactly what admission counselors are looking for on college applications. If you're wondering, here's the answer form an expert.
- What Colleges Care About in This Time of Crisis: Worried about gaps in your college applications due to COVID-19? This commitment letter backed by hundreds of deans should give you some peace of mind.
- How to Be a Competitive College Applicant: More and more students are applying to college. With a larger applicant pool, students have to work harder to stand out. Here's how you can do just that.
- How to Stand Out in Your College Applications: How can you make your college applications rise to the top of the heap? Read on for expert advice from an admission insider that helps break the process down.
- 5 Ways to Beef Up Your College Applications: If your college applications are looking a little barren, here's how you can course correct and add something substantial to impress admission officers.
Finalizing and submitting your applications
- 11 Steps to Finalizing and Submitting Your College Apps: Take the stress out of finishing up your college applications with these helpful tips on what to do and review before hitting submit!
- College Applications: Follow the Directions: When it comes to college applications, an idea as simple as "follow the directions" can help keep you out of the "no" pile.
- College App Proofreading Tips From an Editor–in–Chief: Grab a red pen and get ready to whip your college application into shape! These are the best editing tips and grammar tricks from a professional word nerd.
- 3 College Application Mistakes You're Likely Making: Before you submit your college applications, you need to make sure they're as perfect as can be. Here are three mistakes you may be making on your college apps.
- Submitting Your College Applications Early: How and Why: College application season is a stressful time, but you can make it easier by completing your apps early. Here are some reasons to hit the submit button ASAP.
Making the whole process less stressful
- How to Survive College Application Season: This student managed to apply to 13 schools (Early Action) without losing her mind! Here is her best advice on how to survive the college application season.
- Stress Management During College Application Season: Senior year is stressful, with standardized tests, college apps, extracurriculars, and schoolwork. Here are some ways to keep you calm through all of it.
- The 5 R's of College Applications: College application season doesn't have to be stressful! Just keep these five R's in mind and you're sure to come out of it unscathed.
- 5 Ways to Manage College Application Stress Effectively: The college search and application process is overwhelming for many students. Here are five ways to get through college applications stress-free.
- How to Avoid Burnout During College Application Season: The last thing you want to do during college application season is burn out. Here are a few ways to get ahead of things so you don't feel overwhelmed.
Good luck with your college applications! If you’re looking for more articles on other admission steps like writing your college essays or filling out the FAFSA, check out the tag "our best advice" to view all our helpful collections.