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6 Things to Know Before You Apply to College

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Once you have decided on your top college choices, it's time to start the application process.

Here's what to know:

Know the types of applications and the deadlines for each

You may be applying to multiple colleges, each with their own application types and deadlines.

Many colleges and universities allow you to apply early, either with or without a commitment on your end. Know if the school offers early action, early decision, rolling admission or other types of applications and what you need to complete when.

Allow enough time

Will you need to complete a personal essay as part of the application process? Does the college require an admissions interview? Plan to complete each step in plenty of time to meet deadlines.

Understand yourself

Be prepared to explain your previous activities and academic achievements, as well as your goals and your motivations. Articulate what makes you different than everyone else, and make sure you focus on that uniqueness in essays or interviews. Also think about why each of the colleges on your list is a good fit for you.

Consider your online activity

Some colleges may look up your social media profiles and pages. Make sure they don't have a reason to discount your application because of what you've posted online. If your personal email address isn't professional, create a new one that is.

Complete essays ahead of time

If you need to submit an essay online, have it written and saved beforehand, so you can copy and paste it into the application. This way, you won't need to begin again if you experience technical problems, and you have a backup copy if needed.

Stay in touch

You should receive some confirmation that the college has received your application. If you don't, reach out to the admissions office. Admissions representatives are also available if you have questions or need help completing the application process. Just make sure you contact the school; don't ask your parents to do it on your behalf.

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