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Not every student goes to college and not every student should. But those rising seniors who choose to go are quickly faced with one of their first academic challenges outside of high school: the college application. The process can be difficult, confusing, and tiring, but with knowledge and planning it does not have to be.
The first step, choosing which schools to apply to, does not have to be a stressful process, as long as students take time to survey their options and make informed decisions.
The current state of the world means that campus tours may not happen for a long time, but that should not stop students from looking for a school right now. Colleges are adapting to the circumstances with countless virtual alternatives that students can take advantage of from the comfort of their homes.
Also, with resources such as the Common Application, students are able to complete one application and send it to countless schools without having to repeat the process on each individual school’s website.
The application process should not be the time when students have to whittle their options all the way down to one school, but not every application is not free — so students should show some restraint when looking for possible universities to attend.
Fees and supplemental essays can make applying to a very large number of schools a difficult task. While fee waivers are available to most students who seek them out, the best way to save money, time, and stress is to only apply to a handful of schools, and then make the final decision in May.
One of the most important parts of this process is timing, which is why it is crucial that applications are at least started as soon as possible. Colleges may have deadlines that are impossible to know about until students start work on the application. Students who start their applications too late can find that those dates may have already passed.
This is an assignment that does not have much of a safety net for students in case of a mistake. The fact that a missed deadline can be nearly impossible to make up is what often creates the most stress for applicants, but all that is needed to combat it is a little bit of planning.
Taking advantage of the summer months is crucial to making an application process as painless as possible. Slow and steady will absolutely win this race, and the first step is one Google search away.