Applying to college is a major step forward in your journey. Get excited! Here are ten things NOT to do when you’re applying for admission to a college or university.
Do NOT have an outdated/unprofessional email address.
Colleges (in addition to scholarship committees and the FAFSA processor) will communicate with you through your email address. Make sure that you have a valid, professional email address that you know how to check, and do check it regularly. If you need more information, check out this blog.
Do NOT think that mom or dad will handle this process for you.
Colleges will communicate with you, and only you, due to privacy laws. Many colleges have special waiver forms (that require signatures) that will grant them the ability to also speak with parents regarding admissions and financial aid. Remember, college is a great time to start improving your accountability.
Do NOT apply to a random college for useless reasons.
Wanting to go to [insert college here] just because “it’s near the beach” or “looks cool on TV” is not a valid criteria. Do your research, visit the campus, learn about the opportunities it offers and the resources available to you to help you find success. Learn more about how to Find the right fit for college.
Do NOT think that you can only apply for admission to one college; you can apply to multiple colleges!
Have options! Unless the college is highly exclusive, you can typically apply for admission to multiple colleges, apply for scholarships to multiple colleges, and send your FAFSA information to multiple colleges. Then, those colleges will respond back to you with financial aid offers and you can make an informed decision about what college sounds like it will be the right fit for you.
Do NOT forget to communicate your plans with your parents and your school counselor.
Communication is essential! Get your parents on the same page about your college plans, know what kind of financial support you can expect from them. Talk with your school counselor, they are happy to assist you in reaching your college goals.
Do NOT wait until the last minute to apply.
The college admissions process is full of deadlines; extensions are rare. Spend some time researching priority deadlines, and contact the Admissions office to get a personalized response as to what deadlines you should abide by.
Do NOT be afraid to communicate with a college’s admissions office.
Their job is to answer your questions and provide guidance as you transition to college. Call, email, stop by… they’re always happy to see you!
Do NOT hesitate to set up a Campus Visit, before or after you apply.
Visiting a college campus is often the biggest determining factor in deciding what school to attend. Schedule an official campus visit through the college’s admissions office; visit other campuses, and schedule a follow-up visit if needed. Remember, college is an investment in your future. Do a little research before you commit to a college for the next two to four years.
Do NOT think that just because you’re admitted to a college that financial aid will magically materialize for you to attend that school – there is still work to be done!
When a college evaluates a student’s admissions application, they look at academic achievement (high school classes taken), cumulative GPA, standardized test scores (ACT, SAT, COMPASS) to arrive at their admissions decision. It is your responsibility to also be aware of the college’s cost, and to seek out enough sources of financial aid and scholarships to ensure your ability to afford that school.
Do NOT forget to apply for scholarships to make your college goals a reality.
Scholarships will be your best friends! Research all the different kinds of scholarships you may be eligible for, learn about their deadlines and eligibility requirements, and start applying! The scholarship process can be time consuming (there is no magic one-stop-shop for all scholarships), however they are sources of money you don’t have to pay back, and can help minimize your need for student loans.