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Applying

Most colleges require the following components. Be sure to check each specific college website for the exact required materials.

  • Completed Application
  • Official Transcript
  • Official Test Scores – request from testing agency
  • Essay
  • Supplement(s) to the Common Application – if applicable
  • Teacher Letter of Recommendation
  • Counselor Letter of Recommendation
  • Secondary School Report/Counselor Form/College Prep Form
  • Résumé and/or Activity List


Most colleges offer—and prefer—online applications. It saves the hassle of having to key in your info from a paper app. 

Some schools waive the application fee if students apply online. But before you hit “send,” make sure you do the following:

  1. Show your interest in the school.

 Make an effort to meet someone in person before applying. Have you visited the campus? Don’t just randomly apply.
  2. Proofread your app, even online. 

Write your essay in Word, not in your Internet browser. That gives you the ability to reread and edit without the temptation to hit “send” too early.
 It helps to take the extra time to read your essay aloud to yourself and have at least one other person read it.
  3. Be sure you include all required information with your application. Some schools require essays, some require that SAT or ACT scores be sent directly from the testing company, some require letters of recommendation, some require that your counselor send a report. Be sure to inform your counselor when you apply! Your application is not complete until the counselor sends a transcript.
  4. Treat the process formally.
This is your college application, people! Treat it like the big deal it is. Be careful of spelling and grammar. Do not use “IM language.”
  5. Watch deadlines. Get things in early when possible.