10 tips: Applying to College

10 Tips for students applying to college

1. Find out what you want in a college

What does your dream school look like?


Once you know, you can use college match websites to find one like it. And don’t get caught up in names or rankings; a good fit is most important.


2. Start early, apply earlyStart early, apply early

Apply early decision (binding) or early action (non-binding). Not only will your chances of being accepted increase, you might finish the application process early.


Applying early isn’t complicated, but it does vary school to school so check requirements individually.


3. Apply for scholarships

Apply to scholarships ASAP. You need them. Start with scholarships at the schools you’re applying to, as they are usually the highest available. After that, look for scholarships at your school–they tend to have fewer applicants.


Online scholarship finders are a good third option–but be wary of scams.


visit colleges4. Visit colleges

Visiting is the best way to find out if a college is a good match for you.


You can get a feel for the campus by interviewing, talking to students, and creating your own tour. You don’t have to visit before you apply, but you should visit before you accept.


And if you can’t visit, schedule a telephone interview with a school counselor or alumni.


5. Write a killer personal essay

A great personal essay is the key to every application and should help the reader get to know you.


Stay true to yourself, stick to the prompt and revise the essay until it’s perfect.


6. Apply to 4-12 schools

Send in enough applications that you know you’ll be able to attend a school you like. It might only be a few safety/match schools, or it might be all 8 ivies.


7. Don’t lose focus on schooldon't lose focus on school

Give applications your all, give school your all. Senior classes will affect a college’s acceptance decision and help you prepare for life ahead.


If you’re scrambling, regularly schedule a separate time for college applications and set goals for what you’ll accomplish. With all that work, remember to make time for relaxation too.


8. Take advanced classes and AP tests

The classes you choose from freshman to senior year affect acceptances and scholarships. Challenge yourself and learn more by choosing wisely.


If you want to impress schools, score high on an AP test without taking the class.


9. Talk to your counselor and reach out to schools

Your high school counselor wants to help you. If you ever have questions or just want to discuss options, they should be the first person you contact. Another option is to contact schools directly. They’ll be happy to help.


don't worry about money10. Don’t worry about money

When applying to private schools, it’s easy to get hung up on price. But try to put it at the back of your mind. Few applicants pay the sticker price.


After scholarships and financial aid, a private school may cost the same as a public one.


Image Credits:





Sam Burian

The founder of Study Forth. Sam graduated top 10 in his class and is attending St. Olaf College to major in economics. Sam strives to help himself and others be the best they can. He hopes to motivate other high schoolers and give them the resources they need to thrive.