The College Application Process
- Obtain application from college and complete all necessary questions.
- Petition teacher(s) for recommendations (if necessary).
- Students should provide teachers with the college's recommendan form (if applicable).
- Allow at least two weeks before the applications deadline to request an
Official Transcript packet from the Counseling Office. The Official
Transcript packet will contain the following information:
- Official Transcript with school seal
- Courses, grades, credits
- Grade Point Average (unweighted GPA)
- All admissions testing results reported to Prep Charter (such as SAT, ACT, etc.)
- Honors and Awards
- Community Service
- The completed Application Packet MUST be seen by a school counselor before the student submits it to the college/university for consideration.
- A minimum of two weeks (10 school days) must be given for Application Packet review by counselor.
- Application Packets with a January 1 deadline must be submitted by December 10th to take into account winter vacation.
- Some colleges will only take test scores received directly from the testing center.
- At the completion of senior year, every student will receive an official transcript.
- Students needing special accommodations for college testing need to check with a counselor and/or learning support teacher prior to registering for the test.
COMPLETING A COLLEGE APPLICATION
The Parts of an Admission Folder
When you apply to college, the college admission office collects a folder of information to consider as it makes a decision about you. There are six main areas of an applicant's folder:
- Application - The application includes simple biographical information such as your birthday, family members, and addresses. Frequently you will need to write essays, which are intended to acquaint the admission committee with your experiences, strengths and weaknesses, and writing ability. Check out the section "The Personal Factor" later in this chapter for advice about essays.
- Academic Record - Regardless of a college's admission policy, the most important factor in an applicant's folder is the academic record in secondary school. The curriculum, difficulty of specific courses, and the grades received are aspects of the record admission officers consider in appraising a transcript (another term for the academic record). Your record is compared with your classmates' as a means of showing the admission officer the level of competition you have encountered and how well you have achieved relative to the competition.
- Activities - Although your academic credentials are the primary factors in determining admission, your record of involvement in activities can be a significant supporting credential. Mere membership is not the important factor; it is rather, the level of involvement and accomplishment that is important. It is better to be involved in one activity and to be a significant contributor to that activity than to be involved superficially in several organizations.
- Test Scores - Standardized testing has come under a great deal of scrutiny and criticism in recent years. Many colleges have stated that they are not concerned with applicants' test results; a few have even made submission of test scores optional. However, any college that requires the tests will use the scores in its admission process. How much emphasis is placed on test results depends on the college's policy. As a general rule, the larger the college, the greater the emphasis on pure statistics (test scores and class rank) in determining admission. It is important to remember that test scores are a part of the total applicant profile, and, at most institutions, test scores alone do not exclude a student from admission, nor do scores alone guarantee admission.
- Recommendations - You must give your counselors/teachers a
minimum of 2 weeks (10 school days) to write your recommendation
- Counselor Recommendation - The official recommendation or statement prepared by the school for you is also a very important part of the folder, but it is not as critical as your record itself.
- Teacher Recommendations - These tell the readers of your application about your classroom performance in terms that are not represented by grades. Teachers may comment on the type of contributions you make in class, the written and oral work you have presented, and your potential for studying at a particular college.
- The Personal Factor - While it's true that the greatest emphasis is placed on your courses, grades, and, in some cases, your standardized test scores, colleges also want to know about you, the person. What are you like when you're not being a student? How do you spend your free time? Everything you do has some importance . . . sports, clubs, jobs, working on your computer, reading for your own enjoyment, writing prose or poetry, taking photographs, volunteer work, baby-sitting, or anything else that you choose to do. The application usually contains questions that allow you to list or explain your activities, honors, and use of "free time." The application essay, too, gives you a chance to share some valuable insights into who you are and what you consider important. Your uniqueness as an individual does have an impact on the admission decision. If you can offer the college something that sets you apart from the main applicant pool, your admission chances will be enhanced.
- The Decision-Making Process in College - When considering how decisions are made and what influences admission decisions, the level of selectivity at the college in question is important. The more applicants a college has for each place in its entering class, the more selective that college can be and is. At the highly selective colleges (more than three applicants for every place in the class), virtually all of the application folders contain outstanding credentials. Consequently, the applicant whose folder contains some weaknesses in relation to the general qualities of other applicants will stand out on the basis of weakness rather than on strength. At such colleges, the "personal factor" often plays a major role in the admission decision. When a college has many more academically qualified applicants than places in the class, the emphasis in admission decisions often shifts to more subjective, personal factors. Activities, leadership experience, special talents, family traditions, or outstanding academic skills (in particular good writing) may make an application stand out above others. Well-written essays, which complement carefully prepared applications, may help your chances for receiving a favorable decision. As the degree of selectivity decreases, the admission criteria generally are geared toward whether or not the student can be successful.
NOTES ON COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS
The essay is an opportunity for the student to "come alive" on the page. (Write from the heart.) Remember that the reader probably reads hundreds of essays a week so make yours stand out!
- It is an opportunity for the college/university to judge the depth of a student's understanding of intellectual or social issues, quality and freshness of mind, "lighting up" of issues referred to skeletally elsewhere in application.
- It provides the potential student with the opportunity to show writing style, technical correctness, fluency (sentence subordination, paragraph construction/unit, vocabulary, metaphorical versus concrete language, etc.)
For weak writers/poor scorers:
Often as a confirmation of a decision if other credentials are clear. Essay can be a powerful "tipper" in close cases, especially with very strong or very poor essays. Warning: faculty admissions readers pay careful attention to essays. As eventual consumers, they are vociferous complainers about admitting students with dull or error-riddled essays.
COLLEGE ADMISSION "APPLICATION CHECKLIST"The following list of important steps is intended as a handy checklist for you as you complete college applications. If you file more than one application, you might copy this blank form for completion with each application. Not all items apply to all applicants and all application forms.
Application checklist for (Institution)
|_____||Read the directions thoroughly before filling out any form. Follow the directions carefully.|
|_____||Complete all factual information. Print or type neatly. Consult your school counselor with any questions.|
|_____||Complete rough draft of essay(s). Refine and proofread.|
|_____||Submit requests for recommendations to teachers (when
required by colleges).
Teacher's Name: _________________
Date given to teacher: ________________
Teacher's Name: _________________
Date given to teacher: ________________
|_____||Send application, application fee, and essay (if applicable) to the college prior to the application deadline.|
|_____||Submit the counselor recommendation form and transcript request form to your school counselor.|
|_____||Submit Application Packet to the School Counseling
Office for review and processing. Must be submitted
at least two weeks prior to application deadline.
Counselor _____________________ Date _______________
|_____||Request that standardized test scores be sent to the college. Date __________|
|_____||Submit FAFSA Profile and/or other financial aid applications. Date __________|
|_____||Visit campus on ___________ and have interview with __________________.|
A SIMPLIFIED TIMETABLE AND CHECKLIST FOR STUDENTS PLANNING ON COLLEGE
Grade 11 - February to May
Summer between grades 11 and 12
Grade 12 - September to November