Application help!

<p>I'm a hs junior right now, and I'm completely clueless on applying to colleges. If you guys can give me any tips or anything it would be really helpful.</p>

<p>A few things that just really confuse me:
1. What is the common application and do all colleges take it?
2. Do I only apply in the summer?
3. Do colleges look at whether or not you passed your AP exams?
4. Is the best time to apply over the summer?
5. And anything about scholarships.
6. Do colleges even look at senior year grades?</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>First, talk to your parents about how much they are prepared to spend on college. Then, decide the area of the country you are interested in, if you want to go to a 4 year residential school. Then, check out schools in that geographical area - You should be visiting some of those schools this spring and summer if you are really interested in them. Then, check their websites for all the info about applying. Most colleges have an application date around Jan. 1st of your senior year. Hasn't your high school told you any of this information? Senior year grades are important, so keep working hard. Go talk to your guidance counselor after you speak to your parents about money. Visit a lot of the forums here, you will learn a ton. Read, read, read!</p>

<p>Thank you! Yeah, our high school isn't the best with getting out information and the guidance counselors aren't that helpful. They just tell us that we don't need to worry about our senior grades as much as junior year, but I guess that's why most of the graduates are either in jail or at a technical school...</p>

<ol>
<li><p>The common app is basically an online application that a large number of colleges use (commonapp.org if you want to check it out). A lot of colleges use it (out of the 19 schools I had on my list on 2 didn't use it). </p></li>
<li><p>You actually usually apply October-February. Schools have different deadlines and when your apps are due. Also you will have to choose between applying early or just regular which will affect dates. </p></li>
<li><p>If you choose to submit your AP scores then they will see your scores. In general, don't send scores below a 3. AP scores can either count for college credit or just help get you in (depending on the school). </p></li>
<li><p>Not to my knowledge. The new common app is usually up in August, so usually (unless its rolling admissions) when you apply doesn't affect admission much unless it's early vs regular decision. </p></li>
<li><p>Don't know much here. Most top tier schools don't often offer merit aid, but rather financial aid. Under 60k or under 100k are common cut offs for need aid for these schools. The less competitive school you apply to, the better chance of merit aid you have in general. </p></li>
<li><p>Colleges do look at senior grades. Usually 1st semester seniors grades will be sent to schools if you apply to any regular decision. Second semester (and 1st) will also be important for keeping your acceptance. Colleges can (and do) rescind students because they slack off senior year. </p></li>
</ol>

<p>Hope that helped a bit!</p>