For almost all college applications, a student will need the following:
- A completed admissions application: In the majority of cases, colleges are requiring online admissions applications through either The COMMON APPLICATION or through the college’s own website. Some colleges still offer a paper version of the admissions application but most are moving to an online process. BE SURE to take note of the preferred application method for each of the schools you plan to apply to by checking the application requirements on the Admissions page of the college’s website.
- Personal Essay: Your essay should be Proofread and edited by both you and your English teacher and anyone else you know who will give you HONEST feedback and is a good writer! Start writing your essay early! Check out the page devoted to the College Essay on this site for more information as well as the 2016-17 essay prompts on The Common Application.
- Payment of an Application Fee: Most colleges will charge an application fee when filing an application for college admission. For those that charge, fees can range from $10.00 to $80.00. Payments must be in the form of a check or money order if mailed or paid by credit card if paid online. NOTE: If the student qualifies for the free or reduced-lunch program, then they can obtain a College Application FEE WAIVER from their Guidance Counselor and submit that to the college in place of a check or credit card payment.
- Official Transcript: Students must complete a Transcript Request Form in the Guidance Office in order to have their transcripts sent directly to the college. Please be sure to request transcripts at least 10 days before the college’s stated application deadline. * Note: Your transcripts have to be sent out of guidance and sealed. You can not send copies!
- Letters of Recommendation: Some schools require one and some require up to three letters of recommendation. One letter should be from an academic teacher (English, Math, Science, History) and one from your vocational instructor. You may also include a recommendation from an extra curricular activity leader like a coach, your Guidance Counselor, a club adviser, or a supervisor of an internship or employment. BE SURE to give your teachers plenty of notice! You can ask an academic teacher that you had in your junior or senior year. Read more about letters of recommendation. Complete a “Senior Questionnaire” to help your references write your letters!
- SAT or ACT Scores: Most colleges still require that students take either the SAT or the ACT. Read more about the SAT/ACT tests so you know what to expect. Check out the SAT Testing Dates and the ACT Testing Dates so that you can plan ahead. After you take either of these tests the student will need to request that their scores are sent directly to colleges from the respective testing agencies.
- Resume/CV/Activity List: Colleges want to see what you did…. including your involvement in leadership activities, extracurricular activities, athletics, employment, community service, etc. Be sure to include a listing of all your activities during your entire high school experience. For guidance writing a resume, please check out the resume page on this site.
- Postage Stamps: Buy a book of postage stamps just for your college applications as there will be a lot of things that will need to be mailed to colleges.
To help keep track off all the application details, it is recommended that you establish a spreadsheet with all the related application details OR refer to this college process checklist.