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Preparing for college application

jmeZnarjmeZnar 9 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 23 Junior Member
So I just ended my junior year and I’m realizing that I have to start my application process as soon as possible but I don’t know where to start and how to approach it I need help
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Replies to: Preparing for college application

  • bjkmombjkmom 7837 replies153 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,990 Senior Member
    Good for you for starting nice and early!! Here's what I suggest:

    There are two big hurdles: finding the right schools and the essay(s).

    On the subject of schools: probably the easiest way to start is to take some college match surveys. You can find one here, and several others with the help of Google. With my kids, we start with a Word document-- a chart that lists the school name, location,distance, cost, 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores, and majors that fit the kid.

    The list starts off LONG, as we include any school within about 5 hours that looks possible.

    OK, next, have the financial talk with mom and dad if you haven't already. That will probably pare down your list considerably. Talk to them about distance from home and anything else they'll find important. It's far easier to take a school off your list now than it is after you've fallen in love with it.

    Go to the school websites, watch the videos, consider visiting some this summer or early in the fall.

    OK, now on to the essay.

    Start with the Common App. Again Google is your friend; the essay topics have been out for months. Here's what worked with my kids:
    Day 1: set a timer for 3 minutes per topic. Brainstorm any idea that remotely fits the topic-- nothing is too out there or unimportant to make the list on day 1. The reset and move on to the next topic.

    Day 2. Take a look at your list. Try to write a sentence on each thing you've come up with and why it what you would say. If you can't come up with that sentence, delete the idea.

    Day 3: Take another look. See if you can add another sentence or two that would "give them a reason to say yes," If not, then delete the idea.

    Day 4: Start a bullet list to flesh out each topic. Delete the ones that don't measure up.

    Rinse and repeat until you're down to 3 or 4 essays. Then write rough drafts. Don't delete these, keep coming back and editing until you have 1 or 2 you love.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1834 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,857 Senior Member
    edited June 9
    Here are some things to research:

    -Have the money talk with your parents--how much can they pay per year for college?

    -Think about the important criteria in a college that you want: geography, setting, size, major, big sports, etc.

    -Go to the library and check out the Fiske Guide or Princeton Review of Best 384 Colleges. Read profiles of colleges and see what appeals to you. Research college websites from there.

    -Research your state flagship school, and other state schools that might appeal to you

    -Using your unweighted GPA and standardized test scores, see what colleges might represent a fit considering those factors. Use college search engines at sites like CollegeBoard, Princeton Review and/or Naviance (if your school uses it)

    -Create a spreadsheet of possible schools and all the various factors you consider as important so that you have all the information in place

    -Talk with your parents and/or school guidance counselor to get their input as well
    edited June 9
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  • NicholasCooperNicholasCooper 4 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks a lot for this list! I will use the guide to make sure in everything.
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  • jmeZnarjmeZnar 9 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 23 Junior Member
    This is all so amazing thank you for the recommendations on how to start my college application process, thanks again.
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  • intparentintparent 36273 replies644 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 36,917 Senior Member
    Make up a list of all the EC activities you can think of that you’ve done in HS. It will be very helpful when you go to fill out the common app. Thinks that aren’t school related can count, too.
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