5 Tips to Managing the College Application Process

5 Tips to Managing the College Application Process

college application
Image: iStock.com/Christopher Futcher

Read these five tips to help your college application process go more smoothly.

1. Research Application Requirements


Each college has its own admissions process and application requirements, so it is up to you to find out what they are, for each institution you’re applying to. This includes requisite high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores if applicable. You may also be required to submit supplemental essays.

According to FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, more than 870 institutions are “test optional” or “test flexible,” or otherwise de-emphasize standardized test scores. Find out for sure if the school you’re applying to is one of them. Start by checking FairTest’s list of test-optional and test-flexible schools.

You will also need to determine which application each college uses. Should you submit the Common Application, the Universal College Application, the Common Black College Application, or the institution’s own?

2. Get Organized


Use a filing system to keep things organized; designate a single folder for each institution you are applying to. Determine the due dates for all requirements and create a worksheet that keeps track of them for each school you’re applying to. By being organized, you’ll not only avoid missing important deadlines, you may be able to submit your application long before the due date.

3. Use a Personal Calendar


To keep track of your school and personal life as well as college application deadlines, use a calendar. It’s critical for you to plan out your school year and stay on top of your schedule by managing your time.

4. Allow Yourself Enough Time


Starting early, giving yourself time, and breaking down tasks into smaller chunks will help make the college application process more manageable. Don’t wait until the last minute or try to complete your applications all at once.

5. Work Closely With Your Guidance Counselor


Your guidance counselor will not only make sure you are on track to graduate from high school, but also provide you with guidance throughout the application process. Guidance counselors are a resource. Don’t hesitate to ask yours for help.

A Few Bonus Tips


Use blank applications as rough drafts. Read and follow all the directions first. Make a copy of each application before submitting it, and be sure to submit it before the posted due date. Lastly, follow up with each institution to make sure your application materials were received.

Good luck!


This article was written by Chelsea L. Dixon, M.S., M.A.T.,  the founder and CEO of GamePhox Unlimited L.L.C. and the author of Bridging the Gap: A Simple Guide to College. To learn more about Chelsea L. Dixon, visit www.gamephox.com.