Applying to College? 5 Resources to Tap Into to Ace the Application Process

4 Mins read

Applying for college is a stressful experience for many high school students. College admission officers look for students who will be successful on their campus and contribute to the community. Identifying these individuals calls for a thorough review of transcripts, extracurriculars, and college essays in each student’s application. It takes a lot of effort to measure up. For families with first-generation college students, this process may be especially intimidating.

If you’re planning to attend college, preparing for this goal before senior year will pay off. Aspects like extracurricular involvement and grade point average will affect your chances of being accepted in your preferred university. Keeping your long-term goal in mind will help you stay motivated to get good grades and be involved in your high school community.

As you near graduation, you’ll want to take advantage of all resources that can ease your journey and better your chances of college admission. The following resources can assist you in finding well-matched schools and submitting your best application.

How to Ace the College Application Process: Everything to Know | Empowerly

1. College Admissions Pros

Coordinating a college search on your own can be challenging. With so many options across the country, it’s difficult to decide which schools are the best fit. A college admissions consultant can recommend schools that align with your academic profile and priorities. These consultants will also ensure you meet all the requirements of various applications.

If you’re early in your search, consultants can help you plan your high school program to improve your chances of getting into your top schools. This may include participating in extracurriculars and summer enrichment programs. These professionals will make the application process smooth and stress-free by assisting with college essays and keeping track of deadlines for you.

Working with a consultant also means someone is in your corner 100% of the time. Teachers are great resources, too, but it’s not their full-time job to aid you in your admissions process. That is a guidance counselor’s job, but they may have an entire school’s worth of students to assist. A college admissions consultant will be fully dedicated to boosting your odds of being admitted to your chosen schools.

2. Test Prep Courses

Although most colleges no longer require an SAT or ACT score as part of their application, earning a good score still helps. It’s one more way to demonstrate your scholastic aptitude and make your case for admittance. SAT and ACT scores are also a factor in some scholarships, meaning your scores may affect you in more ways than one.

For these reasons, taking these tests is still a good idea. Standardized tests may seem daunting, however, if you struggle in a testing environment. Although you can retake the tests if you bomb a first attempt, it’s difficult to change your score without some additional effort.

Luckily, many organizations offer test prep courses for students looking to improve their testing skills. These courses focus on improving your ACT and SAT scores, so they will help you strengthen your weak points. Teachers will walk students through each test category and offer tips for answering questions. You’ll typically take practice tests to prepare you for what to expect and enable you to improve your results.

3. College Fairs

When you are first getting started in your college search, you may not know where to begin. It may be beneficial to learn about the different options at a college fair. These events gather university representatives from all over the country to share more information about their programs and application process.

College fairs also offer an opportunity to match a face with a name. If you’re interested in a competitive school, making a good impression on the representatives at the fair could yield a valuable reference. College admissions officials will look positively on a glowing reference that comes directly from a trusted colleague.

College and university reps can also connect you to professors, advisors, alumni, and current students in your chosen major. Best of all, college fairs connect you with someone who can answer questions about the application process in real time.

4. College Websites

If you have a specific school in mind, your first step should be tapping into their website and social media profiles. Colleges will share key details regarding applications, admission, tuition, and areas of study on their websites. Look through the sites of schools that interest you and absorb as much information as you can.

Colleges and universities often have other resources like YouTube channels that give a richer perspective on what student life and campus culture is like. Video and web content make it easier for students to research options that are far from home and get a better glimpse of campus.

When you’re making your final decision, it’s important to be informed and excited about the school you choose. Online resources will help you feel confident in your decision.

5. Comparative Research

With modern technology, you are no longer limited to hard copies of “The Princeton Review” and campus visits to learn about your options. If you’re having trouble deciding, you may need to compare your options. Several college-oriented sites pull together important information about all colleges in the U.S., making it easier to compare and contrast schools.

News sites and online college magazines give you quick snapshots of universities, including size, average tuition, student-to-teacher ratios, and application deadlines. Having this information at your fingertips will allow you to turn a long list into a few top choices.

As you research the application process, these sites can also help you easily see the GPA and testing requirements for each school. This information lets you set reasonable goals, ensuring you’re not applying to schools you’re unlikely to get into.

Plan Ahead for Success

Wherever you are in your college search, it’s essential to recognize how your high school education will impact your application. Staying informed will help you set goals and identify top school choices. The above resources will enable you to determine your path and feel confident in your college applications.

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