College Application Process: Where do I start?
Everyone’s college application process looks different, but there are some important steps each student should complete in order to
Step 1: Create and Finalize Your College List
College lists should both reflect a student's academic and social interests while taking in consideration costs, size of school and location. Consider what is most important to you as a student and which schools best meet your needs
Consider aiming to apply between 5 and 8 schools. Make sure your list includes that you know you exceed the academic profiles for freshman, schools where you closely match the academic profile for freshman and schools where it might take more effort to meet the academic requirements
Exceed (1-2): Your GPA and SAT/ACT(if required) exceed the average profile of last year's incoming freshman. These are schools you are very confident that you will be accepted to and you would be able to afford tuition. These schools can include any community colleges where you might attend before transferring to 4 year university
Matches (2-4): Your academic profile meets the same range as last year’s freshman class. You have researched these schools and believe you would really enjoy attending them and that you believe you would be able to afford it.
Reaches (1-2): Your GPA and SAT/ACT may be lower than the average score range of last year’s freshman class. These are schools where you will need to put more consideration and effort in the application including writing a strong essay. You don’t know if you will be accepted but you think it’s with a shot. After all, you can’t get accepted to a school you never apply to in the first place.
Having a mix of schools in your list allows you to reflect on what’s most important to you when considering a college. Remember it’s your education and your future.
Here some additional resources on creating a college list
Log into MaiaLeraning using your PPS student email and add your list of schools to your Considering List!
Step 2: Gather your application documents.
Staying organized is important to not feel overwhelmed in applying for colleges. We always recommend students to use Google calendar to mark important dates such as application deadlines to assure they don’t miss any important deadlines
- Early Decision versus Regular Admission
Early Decision deadline is normally November 1st
The Regular Admission Deadline is normally at the beginning of January..
Check University websites for exact deadlines.
- Counselors Letter of Recommendation?
*Note* Not all universities require letters of recommendation from your counselor.
- Teacher's Letter of Recommendation? Using MaiaLearning, you can request Letters of Rec from your teachers, make sure to provide clear information as to what information should be included and what number of letters are required. Consider which teachers you would like to write your letters to and provide them enough time to write it. Teachers get a lot of requests!
Check our video on Letters of Recommendation for more information.
- SAT or ACT required? Many schools are going to test optional for 2022, for an updated list of schools requiring SAT/ACT scores visit Fair Test https://www.fairtest.org
Step 3: Start your Applications
Then, start filling out your application!
Step 4. Work on your college essays!
This is normally the most challenging part of the application, so we ask students to start early and use all the resources available to them including College and Career Center. We are here to help
Check out our College Essay Presentation for more information.
Step 5: Review you applications
Make sure your application is complete and that you have entered all the information required for each section. It’s always good to have someone give a second look at your application if needed.
Questions about your application? Reach out to College Coordinators