Helpful tips for applying for college

The future is coming, and it is coming quickly

Taylor Miller, Reporter

As senior year begins, so does the planning of our future. For some, it will be the military or the workforce. For some they do not even know yet. For the majority, however, it will be college and one key part of going to college is actually applying. But what does that mean? For most of the seniors, we have never even seen an application before so we are essentially, clueless. To help lead the blind a little, here are some pointers from our very own, Ms. Fowler:

  • The Basics  Okay, so before you start your application, you need the basics: your GPA, and your ACT. You also need the basic information such as name, address, social security number, and parent information. If you do not know that stuff, I have no clue how you have survived to your senior year. For you GPA and ACT, you can go to Ms. Fowler for that information and Some colleges ask about your activities as well (your clubs, extracurriculars, your involvement in the community, and awards or societies) to see if you are well-rounded. They want to see that you are social and can work well in groups.
  • Essay Questions – Not all colleges have an essay or short answer portion but some do. Some common question ask you about an experience, achievement, or a failure and how it has affected your life. Colleges are just looking to see if you can reflect your past and pull positive changes from it. Just like every other essay, you can not just hammer it out in five minutes and expect it to be college worthy. It needs to be a good essay. So, think back to your twelve years of grammar and composition and make your high school English teachers proud. In your essay, you are trying to essentially sell yourself. Show the college that you that you want to be there and that will have a positive impact. Do not lie, however. You need to be honest, open, and positive.
  • Common Application – Instead of having to apply to twenty different colleges, some colleges use Common App. This is just one application that is sent to your choice of schools. Not every school uses this, but 677 do. Research and see if your pick uses it. Alabama colleges that use Common App include: Birmingham Southern, Samford, Spring Hill, and UAB. Common App does require essays and recommendations. If you have anymore questions, refer to or Ms. Fowler
  • Recommendations – I have only one thing to say about recommendations, Do not use a teacher that you had for one year in ninth grade. For a good recommendation that accurately describes who you are now, the teacher needs to actually know you now. Use teachers you know well and have a connection with. If you are in a sport or club, use your sponsor. Also, do not ask for a recommendation two days before the deadline, you need to give them time and maybe a copy of your resume so they know what they are talking about.
  • Deadlines – Once again, I have only one thing to say about this: Know and Meet your deadlines. This is not like high school where you can explain your case. These colleges are getting thousands of applications that actually turned theirs in on time. Ms. Fowler, although amazing, does not have the power to extend the deadline for you. You are going to college next year and your teachers are not as flexible as high school. The responsibility starts now.  

Senior year is already stressful as it is. Your time of high school is coming to an end and these applications will decide your next step. You know how important applying is, you know how stressful and scary it is. The only other thing I can say is breathe. You got this. Do not let these applications add to your stress. If you have questions, trust me someone has the answers you just need to ask them.