Is your son or daughter planning to apply for college? Now’s the time to learn about the application process so you can help your child in the effort. Both 2-year and 4-year colleges require filling out an application form. This form is different than the one used to apply for federal student financial aid.
Most high school students start the application process in the fall of their senior year and apply to five to eight different colleges. Students can speed things up by completing a common application form for several colleges through the Common Application website.
Each college has specific requirements for application and its own deadline. Along with a completed form, most colleges require submitting the following:
- Payment of the application fee, which may be waived for low income students.
- Standardized scores from Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT).
- High school transcripts.
- Letter(s) of recommendation from a high school counselor and teachers, as well as adults other than relatives.
- An essay that emphasizes the student’s unique skills or personality.
- A portfolio that includes samples of projects, videos, letters about volunteer work, awards, etc.
It is important for students to meet with their high school counselor for help with looking for suitable colleges, understanding application requirements, and sending school transcripts. As a parent, it’s a good idea for you to join your child in meeting with their counselor and stay in touch as the application process continues.
For more information, visit the following websites:
- Applying 101 — Big Future by the College Board
- Wondering what you need to do to apply for college or career school? — Federal Student Aid-U.S. Department of Education
- The College Transition — University of Minnesota Extension