Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
Below is a short description of the sections of a typical college application. Having this information early in their senior year can help students determine when to begin their applications and how much time to devote to them. In addition, having this information early in high school can help students shape their experiences in a way to help them prepare for college.
The first part of a college application typically asks for your name and contact information. This section may also ask for other basic information about you in order make determinations such as establishing your citizenship and residency.
The second section of an application typically asks for information about your relatives. Colleges typically ask for the names and relationships of all family members attending their college. Colleges also ask more specific information about your parents or guardians such as their occupational information and the educational background.
Colleges also ask if either of your parents are alumni of the college. Some colleges give preference to applicants whose parents graduated from their college. The degree of preference varies greatly among colleges.
In this section, colleges often describe the schoolís honor code and ask students if they are willing to abide by it. In addition, colleges often assess studentsí integrity by asking about criminal convictions, school disciplinary action, and dishonorable military discharges.
Colleges ask for information about the high schools and colleges that you have attended or are attending. They also want to know the courses you are enrolled in during your senior year. Most colleges require that you report any schedule changes that occur after you have applied.
In addition, colleges ask about your college admission testing. They typically ask you for the scores on SAT or ACT testing, including any subject scores, that you have taken. If you have registered to retake a test, colleges want to know that as well.
Colleges require you to list all school and community activities you have participated in during high school. They typically want to know how many hours per week or year you devoted each the activity. They also want to know about any leadership roles you held in the activities.
Some students attempt to impress admissions representatives by joining a great number of activities. However, students who join too many activities are unable to devote much time to any one activity. Therefore, it is best to participate in a small number of school and community activities that you can advance in over the years. Admissions representatives typically prefer students who very involved in their activities and who assume leadership roles.
If you have any work experience, colleges want to know about this as well. They ask for the number of hours that you work during the school year and summer. While colleges still expect you to earn good grades and participate in other activities, colleges will often take the number of hours a week you into account when they evaluate your application.
Colleges also want to know about any awards you have earned during the time you are in high school. Both community and school awards can be listed.
The essay is a very important part of your application. Colleges use the essay to get to know the students and to assess their writing ability. Therefore, students should spend a good deal of time making sure that the essay is well written and that their personalities shine through.
Many colleges require studentsí school counselors to complete a section of the application. This section asks information about you such as your grade point average (GPA), class rank, highest courses taken and any behavioral information. School counselors are also required to disclose information about your high school such as highest courses offered and the highest GPA in your class you can be compared to other students in your class. Students should give the form to their school counselor well in advance of the date they plan to submit their application because the counselors typically have busy schedules and many statements to complete.
Teachers evaluations (also called teacher recommendations) are typically supplementary forms to be given to the teachers or that the teachers can access online. Colleges want to know how students perform in class, how they get along with other classmates, if they are eager to learn, and if they demonstrate academic and leadership potential. Students should ask teachers to complete the evaluation well in advance of the deadline because they typically have busy schedules and many other evaluations to complete.