Tips on Applying to College

Choosing the right college is the most important decision you’ll make during your senior year in high school. During your junior year, you and your parents should plan on visiting at least three colleges or universities to get a better idea of what college is like. Focus on finding a college that provides you with necessary services, addresses your personal interests, and offers your academic major. Getting through the college application process can be a breeze if you follow these tips on applying to college.

Choosing the right college is the most important decision you’ll make during your senior year in high school. During your junior year, you and your parents should plan on visiting at least three colleges or universities to get a better idea of what college is like. Focus on finding a college that provides you with necessary services, addresses your personal interests, and offers your academic major. Getting through the college application process can be a breeze if you follow these tips on applying to college.

Tip 1: Start Early
By starting early, you’ll find which schools have admission deadlines, early decision, early action or rolling admission policies. Many schools have application and scholarship deadlines. Inquire about any advantages of applying early. Be sure to review your application with your school counselor.

Tip 2: Get your Papers Ready
*Transcripts: Send your high school transcript directly to the college’s admissions department along with your application for admission or at least a week after the electronic submission of an application.

*SAT/ACT Scores: Unless you’ve already decided on a college, take both exams. You’ll have your scores ready for any college requirement. (GGC will accept your scores, but you are not required to take the SAT/ACT for admission.)

*Immunization Forms: Colleges will require updated immunization forms before you are admitted.

Tip 3: The Golden Rule
Remember all those good deeds you’ve been doing for others? It’s time for a little payback. Ask your teachers, counselors, employers or other acquaintances to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Keep the kindness going -- do not ask them the week before application deadlines.

Tip 4: The Essay
You’re not even admitted to college and you already have to write an essay. But what should yours be about? Admission committees want to learn more about you and what contributions you can make to the student body. Some colleges have open topics of your own to consider for the essay. Other schools have specific topics giving you the opportunity to choose one of a few different topics. Be sure to have your essay proofread and read it to your family and friends for feedback or opinions. Spelling counts! (GGC currently does not require an essay for admission.)

Tip 5: Get in the Game!
Colleges are mostly interested in the quality of your extracurricular activities. Did you play ball? Direct a play? Lead a club? Focus on any leadership positions you may have held going back to the 9th Grade. Mention any involvement in community service and abilities in music, athletics, school publications and academic awards.

Tip 6: Grades (and Classes) Count
The admission process is very competitive for many colleges and universities. The classes you take during high school can give you an edge over other applicants. Admission committees like to see applicants with rigorous course selections such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Honors classes. You can strengthen your hopes of admission by challenging yourself with B+ grades or better.

Tip 7: Meet, Greet and Ask
Take advantage of opportunities to interact with admission staffers, faculty and students already attending the college. Look for Open House or other campus visit events scheduled during the year. Ask questions. Make your parents ask questions. Every answer you get will help you make your final decision.

Tip 8: The Interview
Ask about whether an interview is required or optional. If it’s optional, ask if you can schedule one. You want to give yourself every possible opportunity to share more information about who you are.

Tip 9: It’s probably online
Take advantage of support and advice from school counselors, teachers, college students and admission representatives at a college or university near you. The Internet is an excellent source of information. The process of applying to college may seem to be hard work, but it is well worth it. Enjoy the adventure!

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