College Admissions FAQs
The college admissions process can be confusing and stressful, but it is a hugely important part of students’ lives. Here are the answers to some of the most popular questions about college admissions.
When should you start looking into colleges? You should start researching colleges and universities at some point during your junior year of high school. This gives you plenty of time to finalize a list of colleges to apply to and start planning campus visits. The more knowledge you have before starting the application process, the better.
How many colleges should you apply to? There isn’t a concrete answer to this question. Some people are happy applying to two colleges, while some are content with applying to 20. No two students undergo the same college application process. Set aside time to compile a list of all the colleges that interest you. Having a preliminary list is a crucial first step.
The next steps are to factor in application deadlines, decision deadlines, financial aid and your own research. This will help narrow your list down and figure out which institutions are worth the application effort and fee.
What are safety, reach and match colleges? A safety college is one that you’re quite confident will accept you. These institutions still fit your search criteria, even if they aren’t your top choice. Applying to safety colleges grants a sense of assurance that you’ll be able to attend a noteworthy college if you’re denied admission by your reach and match colleges.
A reach college is an institution that tops your list of colleges you want to attend. They usually have low acceptance rates, great reputations and exceptional academic resources. Don’t be scared to apply to a reach college.
Match colleges are a healthy middle ground between safety and reach colleges. Although you aren’t absolutely sure you’ll be admitted, there’s still a good chance. Match colleges offer impressive facilities, programs and resources. These colleges are institutions with students who have similar high school GPAs and test scores as you.
How should I organize writing my college essays? There are several methods students use to organize their responses. Some use spreadsheets, noting the prompt, deadline and important points to streamline the writing process. Others choose to finish one application at a time, completing those with the closest deadlines first. Decide on a process that utilizes your strengths and be sure to submit essays in order of their deadlines so you don’t miss a deadline.
What should you do after finishing your applications? After celebrating the end of a rigorous process, see if there are any more opportunities to interview with campus representatives or alumni. Keep track of when you can expect to hear back from admissions offices. Most importantly, don’t panic. If you did your research and gave it your best shot, then your work is done.