College Application 101

A Few Tips that will Help You

The most popular application forum.

Photo from

The most popular application forum.

Sarah Chen, Photojournalist

It’s officially November, which means college application season is in full swing! As the competition continues to rise each year, there are more and more requirements to qualify for the top colleges.  Seniors across the world are all vying for those few spots at their dream school.

“College [applications] are a long stressful process,” said Elizabeth Tipping (12).

She’s right.

It’s more than filling out an application. There are essays to write, recommendations to ask for, and endless questions to fill out.

Here are a few tips to help you with this long and stressful process:

  1. Narrow down a list of colleges.

Instead of trying to apply for every school that appeals to you, put a list together of schools that fit you the best. A list of ten is the most ideal, provided there is a good mix of “safe” schools and “reach schools.”

  1. Research the schools.

The colleges that you like may not be all what you think they are. There are differences between big schools vs. small schools, college towns vs. big cities, etc. You might think that Cornell University is perfect for you, but it’s also very isolated.

  1. Keep a calendar.

With deadlines approaching, keep a careful calendar and follow it. UC and Cal State applications are due at the end of this month, November 30th.  Most other colleges are due either on January 1st, 2015 or January 15th, 2015. Almost all applications, except the Cal State applications, will require at least an essay. So keeping track of the due dates will help prioritize which essays to start on first.

  1. Have others read your essays!

Different people will have different opinions and perspectives. Show it to someone close to you to see if it reflects who you are accurately. Show it to someone else to see if they get a positive image of you. Show it to as many people as you can.  After all, more people reading it will be more mistakes caught.

  1. Do your best and don’t stress!

Think about it. At this point you’ve done everything possible to help your college applications. So, other than writing that amazing essay, there really isn’t much that you can do other than hope for the best.


For those who haven’t started their application, start as soon as possible! Most colleges can be found on the Common Application or the Universal Application. UC and Cal State have their own applications. There are also several schools that use their own application.


Just remember, there is always a place for you out there for you. Just inside the US, there are over 3,000 colleges. Finish your application to the best of your abilities. You will end up where you fit the best.