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How can I better prepare for college applications?

I am currently a junior in high school, I have some work and volunteering experience, but I am not exactly sure on what programs I can apply for that might be able to assist with college applications? #college # applications

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John’s Answer

THE COMMON APP • https://www.commonapp.org/explore/
Allows you to apply to several colleges at the same time and manage them throughout the college application process. To use it, you'll make a profile, choose your target schools and then fill out an application that will be sent to all of the schools you've selected. This application will include general information about you, your family, your educational history, your extracurricular activities and your test scores. If schools require more than this, you'll be prompted to submit specific documents like letters of recommendation and teacher evaluations. For most students, the Common App is a fantastic way to save time, stay organized and find ways to pay for school – it helps you keep track of deadlines and application requirements, and it can even help connect you to financial aid resources. And, Common App colleges encompass more than 900 institutions, so there's a good chance your schools accept it.

Alex toward the end of your junior year, you'll need to arrange for college campus tours. Tours generally take place during the summer before your senior year or during the fall of your senior year. The first step in scheduling campus tours is to make a list of the colleges you want to visit. Then, reduce your list to a manageable number of visits; this is important, as you probably won't be able to visit all of the schools to which you're applying. A good strategy is to choose your top one or two colleges and your 'safety' school to visit. Your junior year is critical in your planning and preparation for college. Most importantly, your junior year will be the last full year you have in high school before applying to college; this is because many college applications are due in the fall of your senior year. Reassess your extracurricular activities and finalize your senior year schedule. You'll also need to start figuring out how you and your family will pay for college, reflecting on your planned major, and visiting colleges.

Hope this was helpful Alex. Good Luck

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Alex ! In addition to all the great answers provided here , I would also check out Collegeboard.org. From my own memory that is where you can apply for either financial aid or colleges. I apologize it has been a long time, but this site is still very active so definitely use it! It also helps with answering SAT questions of the day! I would also recommend to check with your teachers and give them enough time to write you strong letters of recommendation. Make sure they know you, and they can write well about your qualities, show examples and show the student you are. Give them about 8-12 weeks in advance because teachers can be busy, ask them first and get a confirmation then make sure to make a list of who you asked and remind them. This is very important as deadlines approach fast; which is another important point. Make sure to know when the deadlines are for applications for colleges and for financial aid. Junior and senior year will be active for you in terms of SATs and applying to college but it will be worth it once it is over. Keep a planner and write down what you need to do, this kept me organized and tremendously helped me during those two years. Lastly, colleges still keep track of you even when you get accepted so please keep your grades up through senior year as well. Just because a student gets accepted it doesn't mean that's the end; of course enjoy those field trips but definitely keep studying and being a well-rounded student. Please let us know if you have more questions!

Best of luck future undergrad!

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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Alex,
Great question. As John mentioned above, common app is a great source to use when applying to colleges. It basically allows you to fill out one application that can be used for over 700 colleges and universities. What's great about common app is that when you type in a specific college you might be interested in, it will give you a small description of some programs offered there and what campus life is like. I'd recommend even glancing at the common app website before your senior year to just better familiarize yourself with the site, but also understand what colleges/universities offer this for their application process. As you begin to prepare for college applications, I'd definitely recommend researching some colleges you might be interested in and writing down when their early application process starts.

To get a head start on the application process, you can even start brainstorming college application essay ideas and look into examples of what colleges are looking for in terms of formatting. When I went through the college application process, my high school guidance counselor held college application 101 sessions. Possibly look into seeing if your high school offers similar sessions to prepare high school seniors for the college application process.

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Simeon’s Answer

Focus on participating in the groups you have a genuine interest in. After being involved with a few groups, you get diminishing returns on joining any further groups. You want the groups you're listing on your resume to actually reflect your interests and values. Within those few groups you focus on, see what leadership positions or responsibilities you can get. That'll enable you to better answer interview questions about your teamwork skills and responsibilities you've had.