Don’t let the college admissions process intimidate you! Yes, college is a big decision. And yes, applications can seem daunting. But there are several steps you can take to make your life easier.
1. Do Your Research
Nobody thinks filling out applications is fun. That’s why it’s important to narrow your list of prospective schools by doing some preliminary research. Consider factors such as:
- Majors and programs
- Cost and available financial aid
- School culture
- Campus ministries and Christian resources
- Academic support
Narrowing your list of schools can save you both time and money.
2. Visit Campuses
Once you have compiled a shortlist of schools, visiting campuses is one of the best ways to narrow your search. Doing your research can give you an initial impression, but you really get to know a school when you set foot on the campus. While you’re there, see if you can:
- Go on a guided tour
- Sit in on a class
- Talk to a student
- Meet a professor
You may find there are certain schools on your list that aren’t a good fit. Skip them and move on.
3. Compile Your Application Materials
While different colleges have slightly different application requirements, there are several items you’ll need to access multiple times. Click here to learn more about resources typically required.
Most schools offer a concise summary of necessary materials.
4. Stay on Top of Deadlines
Procrastination is your enemy. Keep a list of all the schools you’re considering and make notes about each one, including:
- Application deadlines and fees
- Admission requirements
- Necessary application materials
Refer back to your list often to make sure you don’t miss an important date.
5. Check Your Email
Keeping tabs on your email may not be the most fun activity, but it will help you in the college admissions game. Your prospective schools will usually send you info about programs, scholarships, and upcoming deadlines. Taking a few minutes each day to check your email could save you from missing out on important opportunities.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Every school’s admissions office is there to help you, the prospective student. Don’t be shy! Ask questions about:
- The admissions process
- What sets the school apart
- Financial aid options
- Programs and majors
- Student activities
- Residence life and dorms
Admissions offices know the ins and outs of the student experience. If they don’t have the answer to your question, they know the people who have that answer and can put you in touch with the right person. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know everything (you’re new to the process!). Just ask.
7. Don’t forget the FAFSA
To receive need-based aid, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This could be a key part of your financial aid package, so it’s important that you fill it out as soon as possible. The FAFSA website has instructions here.