College Application Process

Starting your college application process can be daunting, but knowing the basics of the process can help. Let’s dissect the typical parts of a college application and look at some dos and don’ts so you can avoid getting passed over by admissions offices.


Every college and university has its own admissions requirements based on their academic standards, school structure and the types of programs offered. General admissions application requirements can include the following elements to help colleges learn more about who you are.

Application Form

Carefully read and fill out the application form. Do not be afraid to ask questions about anything that is unclear. A simple mistake can mean the difference between getting into a college or not.

College Essay

The essay is one of the most important parts of your application, and your chance to shine. Colleges are interested in how well you express yourself in writing. Be sure to think about the impression you want to make. Leave plenty of time to do your essays -- you will probably have to write many drafts before you get one that is just right.


The good news is that college essay topics tend to overlap, so you may not have to write a new essay for each application. Be sure to get help from your high school guidance counselor and teachers. 

Transcripts / Test Scores

Your transcript shows the high school(s) you attended, courses taken and your grades, cumulative grade point average (GPA), SAT, SAT subject tests and ACT scores, and school attendance. Colleges use this information to determine if you satisfy admissions and eligibility requirements. It is also used to determine if you met high school graduation requirements.

Recommendation Forms

Ask for recommendations from people who know you well -- teachers, guidance counselors, employers or any adult who can comment, favorably and in depth, on your skills, maturity, integrity and personality. Be sure to give them the forms well in advance of the application deadlines.

©2018 by Counseling / Guidance Department