Tips to know for applying to colleges


Applying for college requires a variety of steps that may get overwhelming at times. Current juniors are going to have the chance to apply to college next year. While applying for college appears to be in the distant future, it is necessary to prepare now in order to avoid problems later on. Problems that include missed deadlines that cannot be made up and which may result in automatic rejection.

“Create your own personal email or have a personal email for college,” Counselor Tiffany Wilson said.

Students should make an email that they will specifically use for applying to colleges and should continue checking that email throughout the year. Do not use a school email when applying for colleges or when applying for financial aid, school emails will be deleted as soon as a student graduates, and they will no longer have access to them. This means that if they used their school email to apply to college may also lose access to your college or financial aid accounts.

One arguably the most important factor is financial aid, which will help a student with paying for college.

For students with a Social Security Number, they are eligible to apply for financial aid through Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students without a SSN can apply for the California Dream Act application.

For both FAFSA and California Dream Act, students will need their, as well as their parent’s federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of annual earnings.

For FAFSA a student will need to create an FSA ID which will act as an electronic signature.

For dream act applicant a student may need to put Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Driver’s license number if applicable, students will need their Statewide Student Identification number students to have the 10 digit SSID if they attended a California public high school.

When choosing a college to apply to students should do research on the colleges they are applying to. Students researching colleges should look at the campus and the majors that college has to offer to see if that college would have their major.

“When applying to colleges keep in mind at least one safety and one reach school, that is and at least two schools in between,” Advancement Via Individual Determination teacher Kristie Flinders said. A safety school is like a back-up school that a student will almost certainly get into because their standardized test scores, class rank, and grades are well above the average for admitted students; they also tend to have a high acceptance rate.

A reach school is a college that a student has a chance of getting into, but their test scores, class rank and/or high school grades may be a bit low compared to the school’s average for admitted students.

“During the summer students, should work on personal statements,” Flinders said

A personal statement is an essay about a student, it should produce a picture of a student as a person and their story. Working on personal statements, gives a student an idea of what to write about themselves. Personal statements are usually helpful for scholarships and for the University of California, which usually have set questions of personal insight questions where students will have to write about themselves.

Students should also consider who can write them a letter of recommendation. When applying to scholarships, students will most likely need to submit letters of recommendations for that scholarship. They colleges may ask that students have a letter of recommendation, so it really is important for you to get to know a teacher or employer and have them write a letter of recommendation for a student. Letters of Recommendation reveal a lot  about a student to admission officers or scholarship readers about the students academic, social, and other skills that will allow them to succeed in college and beyond

Applying to college may seem hard but if a student is prepared ahead of time it will be an easier time when students have plenty to do other than just apply to colleges.