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5 things to know about the college application process

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The college application process is known for being the most stressful and confusing time in high school. From deciding where to apply to, to making sure your application portrays you in the best way possible, these months can be extremely confusing as time is ticking down to have everything done. With that, it is very easy to forget make or break aspects in the whole process, so here are five things to know when applying to college.

1.Big names are not always better.

Of course schools like Harvard and Columbia seem like a golden ticket, but they might not always be the best choice for you. When considering big name schools that are extremely competitive a lot of factors are not considered, such as if the school is going to suit where you see yourself over the next four years. You have to really consider if these schools will be the most beneficial for your career and future endeavors. Other aspects such as competitiveness and sizes of classes are often overlooked due to the big names. At the end of the day, you have to decide if you are ready and able to thrive in a large competitive environment. Also, never just apply to Ivy’s or big name schools, make sure you have a mix of schools and keep your options open.

2.Money is no joke.

A big factor to consider is the financial aspect of your education. A big factor to consider when deciding what schools to apply to is how much money they are known to give to admitted students. This will give you a good sense of where you will be come April when those decisions come out. The last thing you want to happen is getting into your dream school, then finding out you have to come up with thousands of dollars to cover the costs. Do not go into the application process expecting schools to give you a full ride or a near full ride. Be smart about your expectations and plan accordingly to your financial situation.

3.Start scholarships ASAP!

This may be the biggest piece of advice I have, those scholarship applications should start getting filled out before your senior year even starts. So many scholarships are available in those first few months of school, take advantage of every one you can. It’s not the easiest thing balancing college applications with scholarship applications, but you could end up writing a great essay for a scholarship that inspires you in your main essay for schools.

4.Early action applications are wonderful.

If a school you are interested in has an early action option go for it! This application is non-binding and you find out in January if you have gotten in. This can be a great way to keep sane in those months of waiting for the rest of your responses. You can also get an idea of your financial situation if you will decide to go to that school in the long run.

5.Have all of your documents ready.

Make sure your parents file taxes as soon as they possibly can. All other documents such as the previous years tax returns, financial documents, and letters of recommendation should all be scanned and on your computer ready to be sent whenever you need. If you have a non-custodial parent who will not be filling out their financial aid forms, make sure you send in waiver forms with all the required information.

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The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School
5 things to know about the college application process