5 Steps Before You Fill Out Your College Application

  • Alma_Matters
  • 17 Sep, 2022

5 Steps Before You Fill Out Your College Application

By Alma_Matters

September 15, 2022

I recently talked to Athena Lao, a College Counselor with about a decade of experience. 

The question I had was simple: What things should a student do, before filling out their college application?

Here’s the list Athena came up with:

1.Pick a College Application Platform. 

  • As a student, you should ensure that the colleges they are applying to use that application platform. 
  • Additionally, if you know that multiple colleges that you plan to apply to, use a particular platform, then it would be a lot more efficient to use that, instead of trying to toggle across multiple different systems. 
  • You can check out the Common App or the new Coalition Application on Scoir.


2.Collect Academic Information. This includes your High School transcripts, your grades, any test scores that are relevant, you'll have official documentation relating to that.

Note: Since you're applying in your senior year, your final year of high school, any schools that you apply to, if they ask for a transcript, or official documents, they'll want the latest version possible. So find out

  • How long it takes to collect that from your school,
  • Get an official paper copy, as well as an official digital copy,
  • So that you can share with the schools that you're applying to. 


3.Collect Life Experiences’ Information: The second category of information is around your life experiences. So the extracurriculars, the clubs, the sports, the music, musical activities, anything that you've done in your school, or your community or online, in the past few years. So for US higher education, anything that you've done from the summer, before ninth grade, or later, you're going to want to include that in the application.

Note: Four years of High School is a long time. So you might have forgotten some of the things you did in that period. 

  • So take time, ask your parents, check your emails;
  • Think through, reflect on what you've done over the past few years, even if it's something that you did for only a semester, but you were very involved in it, it was very time intensive; 
  • If you're taking classes after school in a subject that you really enjoyed, that counts as a piece of information you might want to share with schools. 


4.Collect Commendation Information: Schools will also want to know if you received a commendation for an achievement you had at school: 

  • For getting high grades, 
  • Having a good performance in show, musical, etc, 
  • Any award;
  • Any activity, camps that took up some amount of time,  Something that helped you advance in your knowledge of some subject you're interested in;
  • Some skill you have. 

In short, anything you've done since ninth grade, the summer before ninth grade, or later, collect all that and compile it all in one document, because you'll need to migrate that over to whatever college application platform you're using. 


5.Open an Account & Transfer of Info Once. Once you have executed the above Steps, 2-4, Open an Account on whichever application platform you choose. Once you have profile information together, then you can populate that information, once on the platform and it will automatically be available to the colleges you apply to on that platform. 


Do it as soon as you can. Don't wait until the last minute! 

All the Best with your Applications!

Also Read: Experts' Guide to US College Applications

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