The College Application Process
by Jann W. Gates
The End of a Journey
The senior year completes a journey that begins in kindergarten and progresses through the elementary and high school years. Seniors can see how their capacities and skills have grown, show confidence in their ability to meet the challenges of the senior year, and are ready to plan the first years of their adult lives. They understand that additional education as well as work experience will prepare them for their vocational choices. The college admissions process is an important bridge that opens opportunities for further study.
Imagining the Spectrum of Possibilities
Steps in the college admissions process for each student include:
- Setting goals for the near future
- Taking stock of one’s strengths and weaknesses
- Identifying colleges and universities that offer programs that would allow a student to broaden his or her education or to specialize for a specific profession
- Applying to colleges with different strengths so that the student keeps several options open for further study
- Presenting one’s qualifications effectively as a prospective college student
- Learning firsthand the “application process”, for the process of applying for employment is similar to applying to college
The Roles of the Guidance Counselor, Registrar, and Faculty
The school supports the student and his or her parents during this process. The guidance counselor meets with classes, parents and each individual student in the junior and senior years of high school. The counselor helps students and parents to understand the process and advises students as they prepare their applications. The counselor and registrar are important liaisons between the high school and colleges. They compile the school’s supporting documents and send them to the colleges and universities where each student applies. These documents include:
- Transcript and list of courses being taken by the applicant in the senior year
- School Report and School Recommendation
- School Profile
- Teacher Recommendations
- Midyear Report of the student’s record during the first semester of the senior year
- Final Transcript and Certification of Graduation
The Student’s Responsibilities: Getting Organized. . . and Staying the Course
Applying to colleges and universities is a task that extends over a period of months. It is important to maintain an overview of the process throughout the year.
The College Application Calendar—Senior Year
NOTE: The following timeline is for Regular Admission or Rolling Admission Applications. Deadlines for students submitting Early Decision or Early Action Applications fall between November 1 and December 15.
September and October
- Finalize the list of colleges where the student plans to apply.
- Register for and take the SAT I and several SAT II tests as early as possible in the fall.
- Assemble application forms in hard copy or locate forms on-line.
- Compile a resume of activities, interests, and work experience on a single page.
- Prepare a portfolio of art work, a tape of a drama or music performance, and samples of expository or creative writing if a college or university requires or wishes to see these items.
- Ask teachers to write recommendations.
- Give the School Report forms to the Guidance Counselor.
- Write out the contact information for each college and give it to the Guidance Counselor.
- Be certain that the teachers who write recommendations and the guidance counselor know submission deadlines.
- Parents: Begin to prepare Financial Aid forms.
November and December
- Request that standardized test results be sent to colleges by the College Board or ACT.
- Fill out all applications and compile packets of supporting materials.
- Submit applications and additional materials by the deadlines set by the colleges.
If additional colleges are added to the student’s list, complete applications by required deadlines or no later than February 1.
Parents: Prepare and submit Financial Aid forms.
Notification of decisions by colleges and universities are made by some colleges on a rolling decision basis, that is, within several weeks of receiving a completed application, or for regular decision applications on or about April 15.
Notification of financial aid decisions arrives shortly after acceptances.
Students are expected to notify the college they wish to attend by May 15.
Commencement and New Beginnings
Graduation Day for seniors, their families and the entire school community is a joyous event. It is an occasion for celebrating the growth and accomplishments of each student in the senior class. Plans for the immediate future have been carefully formulated during the senior year and seniors know how they will begin the next period of preparation. Graduates receive their diplomas and the congratulations of fellow students, teachers, families and friends. A new era in their lives is about to unfold.
The following links may be helpful:
Click Here to see College Guidance Part I
Click Here to see College Guidance Part II
To visit with our College Guidance Counselor, Mary Freitas please call 505-467-6428 or