The College Application

apply to college, college application

Applying to College: Log On, Get In

Applying to college has become an increasingly demanding task. Since you're probably planning to apply online, why not also use Internet resources to familiarize yourself with the application process before you start? Use the Applying to College Web Guide to figure out where to apply and how to make your college application as strong as it can be.

Try a Spanish-language version of the Guide.

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The College Application

The college application process is a multi-step affair with many deadlines and due dates depending on the school you apply to and the type of application you submit.

Insights for the College Application

  • Applying to more than one college? Some schools now accept a common application so that you don't have to fill out your basic information over and over. See the Common Application Web site to find out which schools accept the application.
  • Part of a successful application is applying to the right combination of schools: some reaches, some maybes and some safety schools. Before you start writing essays and getting recommendations, visit College Data, which helps you determine your chances of being admitted to a college.
  • One way to prepare for the SAT is to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) administered by the College Board. To learn more about what's on the test and how to register, visit the College Board's PSAT/NMSQT page.

Top Sites for the College Application

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College Search Advice

Choosing what college or university you attend may be one of the most important decisions you'll make. The college search advice in this section offers search tools, rankings and reviews to help you narrow the options and determine what fits you best.

Insights for College Search Advice

  • College and university rankings can be useful for exposing certain attributes of schools, but rankings are dependent on endowment funds, alumni giving and other nonacademic factors. Don't use rankings as the most important way to judge a school; you might miss out on some great institutions.
  • Some college admissions offices are now enlisting students to write honest (and sometimes uncensored) blogs about student life. MIT, Cornell and Johns Hopkins are just a few examples of universities using this practice. Check to see if the schools you're interested in offer similar resources.
  • Some basic terms that you'll come across in this guide and in your research include:
  • Safety School: a school that will likely accept you.
  • Reach School: a school that will be difficult for you to get into.
  • Early Action: a nonbinding application that puts you in the first round of applicants.
  • Early Decision: a binding application that puts you in the first round of applicants. If you are accepted ED, you are required to attend the school that accepted you. Generally, you can apply to only one school Early Decision.

Top Sites for College Search Advice

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