10 Ways to Make Applying to Colleges Easier

Follow These Guidelines to Streamline Your Application Process

You’ve already got a million things to do in your senior year…going to class five days a week, completing projects, doing homework, taking tests, hanging out with friends, working a part-time job, playing sports, participating in clubs, going on family vacations—the list never ends. How do you fit in applying to colleges without totally stressing out? It’s simple: break down the big task (“apply to college”) into several smaller tasks. Use this list of ten key steps to keep your sanity throughout the process.

  1. Think about your future. Knowing what you want to do can help narrow your list of prospective schools. But, don’t panic if you’re undecided.
  2. Evaluate yourself. Examine your abilities, interests, grades, and standardized test scores to get an idea of your academic profile. Then apply to a mix of reach, match, and safety schools.
  3. Create an application calendar. Note the deadlines for all of the schools you’re applying to and plan ahead so you meet them. This will relieve stress and keep you on track.
  4. Start your essays early. Last-minute work will not be as impressive.
  5. Write a college résumé. Think of this as a CliffsNotes version of your academic career. You can pull from this list to fill out your applications, use it to generate ideas for essays, and hand it to your recommenders so they have all your vital information close at hand.
  6. Keep your grades up. The last thing you need is to worry about admission offers being revoked because your grades dropped.
  7. Read the instructions. Application forms can be complicated, and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and hassles if you fill in the right information the first time around.
  8. Get organized. Keep copies of your applications, essays, and financial aid forms. Create a checklist for each school you’re applying to.
  9. Enlist your family and friends as proofreaders. A fresh set of eyes reviewing your application forms and essays is a good thing. Your helpers may find a mistake you overlooked, saving you time and trouble.
  10. Apply online when you can. This saves paper, postage, and time. But don’t skip the proofreading stage just because you’re applying online; if you’re too quick to click the “send” button you could hurt your admission chances.


This article was written by Sarah Engel

Sarah Engel is a staff editor for CollegeView.com. Sarah writes extensively on the topic of undergraduate studies and the college search process.

1 Comment

  1. Theresa

    Although this was quite informative, I really wished there had been something geared towards how mothers and grandparents can get scholarships, or additional finacial help for college.

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