Basic Steps of the College Admissions Process

Proper planning for college admission is several years in the making. For those of you who are just getting started (or don’t know what to do next), I’ve outline the basic steps of the college admissions process. This is just a brief list to help you make progress in the right direction.

Step 1: Know Yourself: Including your goals, strengths/weaknesses, wants, desires from schools and programs, expectations.

Step 2: Determine a College Major: If you can decide on a college major before looking at schools, this will help you weed out schools that don’t offer the programs you’re looking for. You will also be able to search top schools based on your area of interest and build your “To Apply To” list off of that. (For example – the top 10 engineering schools)

Step 3: Explore College Options: Look for schools that are a “right-fit” for all your needs and wants.

Step 4: Apply: Fill out the schools’ applications.

Step 5: Gather & Submit Your Supplemental Material: You application isn’t complete until you submit your resume, reference letters, essays, and the like. You can start getting these things ready before you apply, but it may help to tailor some of your supplemental material to the individual schools and programs.

Step 6: Start the Financial Aid Process: Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and apply for scholarships. There are millions of dollars out there just waiting to be tapped into.

Step 7: Wait for Admissions Decisions:  This is the part when the “do-do  do-do do-do-DO do! Do-do-do-do-do DO” (that’s supposed to be the Jeopardy music) plays in your head for weeks on end.

Step 8: Decide on a School: Lucky duck if you have a list of schools that are vying for you! Now you have to decide which one most closely fulfills all the items on your checklist of criteria.

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