The Application Process

Applying to schools can be a bit challenging and time-consuming. You’ll have to get application forms and follow their directions carefully. You can usually find the forms online or get paper copies.

You will also likely find that each school has its own application procedures and deadlines. Here we’ll talk about a few common things you have to do when you apply for college.

Standardized Testing

Most of the time, when you apply to a school, you'll have to take at least one test. The most common test you have to take is the SAT, although there are other tests like the ACT. These tests cover things like reading, math, and writing. Some schools may also require tests like the SAT Subject Tests, which assess your abilities in subjects such as foreign languages, history, or science. Note: For some colleges, these tests are optional.

There are many websites that can help you prepare for these tests and there are also many tutoring programs. If you have a disability and need an accommodation to complete the test, request the accommodation! Your high school should be able to help you get any accommodations you need. These websites can help too:

Accommodations can range from having more time to complete the test to getting a private room in which to take it. If you don’t request and use the accommodations you need, your test score may be lower than it would be if you had used the accommodations. Then you may not get accepted to the school you want to go to. Make sure to request any accommodations you need!

Equal opportunity

Some schools have programs for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to encourage them to attend college. This includes minority students and can also include students with disabilities. When you apply, many application forms will have questions asking if you have a disability. You are not required to disclose a disability, but if you do, you would be eligible for these programs if they exist. In some cases it may help you get into a school.

Essays

Most 4-year colleges will expect you to write a short essay when applying. Take it seriously! Work hard on it and show it to your teachers at school, especially your English teachers, to get advice and feedback. Read it, reread it, and check that everything is spelled correctly. Other people can help you with that too! Often, a good essay can be the deciding factor in whether or not a college accepts you.

Interviews and auditions

Some smaller colleges and universities require you to interview when you apply for school. Interviews are a great way for them to learn more about you. If you are applying to a music school or program, you may also need to perform an audition.

If you need accommodations to conduct an interview or audition, tell the admissions office.

When You Are Accepted

When you are accepted by a school or several schools, you need to think about which school you want to attend. You have to think about all of the factors we’ve already discussed, and if you need financial aid, you need to compare financial aid offers as well. Read the Funding Your Education page to learn more about financial aid.

It won’t be an easy decision. Talk to people and take your time. At the same time, don’t let other people pressure you into a choice that you don’t like. You are now an adult and you must be the person to make the final decision.