Are you a rising junior or senior anxious about applying to college? Do you know nothing about the college process and are looking for helpful advice from your fellow students? Then this article is for you. We asked several seniors about their experiences with the college application process, from the good, to the bad, to the ugly. So sit back, relax, and let us answer some of the most asked questions about the college application process
How should I study for the SAT?
Studying for standardized tests is one of many ways to display your aptitude as a student to potential colleges. Many students strive to get good or great scores on the SAT or ACT, and doing so can help make your application more prominent. If you hope to take the SAT, we highly recommend taking a full-length practice test online, or reviewing your PSAT scores. This allows you to identify sections of the test you might struggle with, and structure your practice to encompass these sections.
If you’re looking for study help, you can buy SAT practice books from the Princeton Review, or other reputable sources. But for those who want a free and easy way to study, you can use Khan Academy for official and Collegeboard certified SAT prep. The website allows you to practice reading, writing, and math questions on the go from your phone, computer, or tablet. Khan Academy also offers practice tests, explanatory videos, and a complete breakdown of the SAT testing format.
Ultimately though, standardized tests aren’t for everyone. Some students opt out of the SAT entirely, and as of 2020, many colleges no longer require students to submit test scores.
What is the Common App and how does it work?
The Common App is an undergraduate college admission application that can be used to apply to multiple colleges simultaneously. The organization is partnered with over 900 colleges across the globe, including universities in Canada, China, Japan, and many European countries. While the Common App does have hundreds of partners, it does not work with every school in the U.S. Each Common App partner school presents their potential applicants with a unique essay prompt (supplement), that they are required to fill out. This means that for every school you apply through with the Common App, you’ll have to fill out 1-3 supplements.
When do you choose your major?
Most colleges allow students to wait until the second semester of their sophomore year to declare their major, giving them a little less than two years to decide a career path. If you already applied to college with a declared major, or decide later that a major isn’t to your liking, then don’t worry. You can switch your major at virtually any time.
How do I tour colleges during Covid?
Because of the pandemic, many colleges and universities were forced to close their doors and cancel college tours. So, how can you visit a prospective college if you can’t actually visit the college? Many colleges offer virtual tour events through their website. There is also a useful website called You Visit, which allows you to visit the colleges from the comfort of your couch. (https://www.youvisit.com/collegesearch/)
Advice from A MacDuffie Senior
What is your biggest regret while applying to college (student response)?
I plan on attending college and playing a sport so when it came to applying to colleges, I was contacted by this fake organization telling me they could get me into a top college, with a good sports program, as long as I paid an expensive entry fee to their “program.” Unfortunately, I fell for the trap and paid them, and I got nothing in return.
For people applying to colleges hoping to be a student-athlete, please be careful. There are people out there who will use your dream of playing college sports to get money out of you. When you see an email saying they can get you into a top college sports program for money, please fact-check and talk to trusted adults before doing anything.
How did you choose a college that was a good fit for you?
Don’t choose the school just for the prestige
Check that the area is a good fit, like if you like a city feel choose a college in the middle of a city or near a city
Make sure they have a good program for whatever major you want to go into
Tour the colleges or do some fly-in programs to get a sense of the college
Choose a college that you can afford
Good athletic programs if you plan to be a student-athlete
Look at demographics
Check if colleges are Need Blind
Any other advice you’d like to share (student response)?
Don’t stress too much about the college admissions process. You only have one senior year and you don’t want to spend the majority of your time stressing about colleges. Live in the present and don’t stress about the future. Carpe Diem, Live in the Now!
We know that the prospect of college can be daunting and stressful, so we wrote this exposé to pull back the curtain on the application process. We’ll also offer you the best advice possible, take a step back and remember that your self-worth isn’t determined by the college you attend. You’ll be great wherever you go, be it a college, university, or straight into the workforce.