How Can Students Take Ownership of Their College Application Process?

Take charge of your college application process

Flickr user Andy Wright

Starting the college application process can be very daunting. You haven’t really had to do anything like this before, and different colleges can have a variety of requirements. Students, this is your chance to take a big step towards the independence you will have during college. Here are some tips for you as you begin your college application process. 

Stand Up for Yourself

Hey, this process is going to affect you a lot. While parents have great intentions, if they are overbearing during this process it can make it even more overwhelming. This isn’t to say that you don’t have to or need to listen to them at all, but if they are too involved it might be a good idea to gently remind them that this is a chance for you to gain some independence.

Listen and Share

That being said, make sure you are having conversations with your parents and listening to them. Let them know how you are feeling, what reservations you have, and what you are most excited for. Your parents will want to help you succeed, and can give great advice if you’re unsure of what to do. Let them help you, but be open with them about how you want their roles in your application process to look.

Organize Your Plan

Applying for colleges can include writing essays, sending in transcripts, taking standardized tests and sending the scores in, visiting campuses, and more. It can be a lot, and it’s best if you plan ahead for what you need to get done. Set up a schedule and pencil in when applications are due. Create deadlines for portions of the application, including time to review everything before you turn everything in.

Talk About Money

The cost of college can be burdensome to many families. Make sure that you are talking to your parents about who will be contributing what in college funds. Make an account on College Raptor to get matched with colleges, and see what your personalized net-price estimate for each school is. Consider looking at various scholarships offered through the schools you are applying to, and check out our numerous blog posts on scholarships offered to students based on a variety of factors.  

Face Your Fears

Take this process head-on. While it might seem scary and unfamiliar, don’t be afraid. There are many resources and people out there to help you. The admissions counselors are knowledgeable in the requirements of the schools they work for and can help with any questions you have about their application. Your high school counselor also has a wealth of knowledge and can be a great person to go to when you are first starting this process. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask your parents for help. They will want to help you and encourage you along in this journey and can have great advice. 

Take the first step. It can be pretty easy if you make an account and use our college matching tool to find schools that are the best for you as an individual. There’s even an option to request information from colleges, streamlining the process even more. From there, consider the rest of our recommendations, and good luck!

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