College Tips for Seniors


Elisha Langevin, Senior Editor

Nervous you’re behind on what you need to get done for college? No worries; here are some tips to stay on track and get started. First, you should explore College Board and narrow down the colleges you would like to apply to: about 3-5 colleges, more would be excessive and pricey. You have to pay for a majority of college applications, and they normally cost around $50 each. Narrowing down colleges can definitely be a difficult thing; my tip would be to search for your preferences only. Do you want to stay local or close to home? Do you want to go to a large school or a small school? Do you want to live on campus? What can you afford? Are you going to commute? Basically sit down and ask yourself some questions about what you’re looking for; the selections on College Board under college search should also help you think about what you’re looking for.

Your next step would be to research the colleges and set up interviews and tours. Interviews are a good way to meet with your admissions counselor for that school so that they can see who you are. For an interview it would be good to dress nice; dress like you would for a job interview. It would also be good to have your transcript and some questions ready to ask because your admissions counselor will definitely be able to answer them.

During tours College Board has a lot of helpful checklists that can help you make sure you have done everything you need. College Board will be a really useful tool; along with Naviance and Common App. Next, once you have your schools picked and have looked into their requirements and deadlines you should start your application. First you should answer the questions under the “Common App” tab for your application. Then you should start answering the questions for each college you’re applying to. You should also link your Common App account with your Naviance. Under Common App you should check to see if some colleges have an extra writing piece. For some colleges the extra writing piece is optional, but this means you should still write them because it makes you stand out more and shows your hard work. You should also work on your main college essay; you can find the prompts and area to put your essay into the Common App under the Common App tab. You should definitely edit a few times and have your English teacher look over your essay and a few other people you know as well; you want to make sure your essay stands out. It will be the hardest essay you will ever write, but the hard work will pay off.

You also need recommendations from at least two teachers, but you should always check your school requirements in case you need three and some take only one. Once you have asked the teachers you want to write your recommendations you will invite them under Naviance; you can find the invites under the “Colleges” tab and the “Apply to college” option and “Letters of recommendation.”

Once you get your questions on Common App completed, essays completed, and recommendation requests sent you should make an appointment with your counselor. Your counselor will have you do a profile for them so they can write you a recommendation and they will submit your transcripts and other recommendations. Make sure to keep them updated on your due dates and make sure you keep track of them as well. They tend to approach rather quickly, but just follow these steps and you’ll be on the right track for the college application process.