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College Application Advice

How to Survive College Application Season

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College Application Advice

Lake Shore Campus at Loyola University at Chicago

Lake Shore Campus at Loyola University at Chicago

Photo by: Erica Frisby

Lake Shore Campus at Loyola University at Chicago

Photo by: Erica Frisby

Photo by: Erica Frisby

Lake Shore Campus at Loyola University at Chicago

Matthew Haufe, Opinions Editor

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One of the most important parts of a high school student’s life is the search for the perfect college. It can often be a stressful time for students who are juggling school work, a part time job and a social life along with the college search. Many students are confused as to how to start the whole process. Here’s some tips on how to go through the process.

Start the process early! This step can be as easy as a Google search. Rebecca Holst, Assistant Principal of Student Services, believes the process starts with the counselors here at Lakes Community High School.

“Make sure that you’re really invested in the [counselor’s] presentations and you really take their advice on the process,” Holst said.

Use resources effectively. Lakes gives students great opportunities to search for colleges through their counselors and the school website. Naviance Family Connection is the main website the school uses for college search, career interest and various other student tools. Lakes counselor Nicole Repa is a strong believer in Naviance and believes it can provide students with great opportunities.

“Naviance is a great search engine, especially for students that really don’t know where to start,” Repa said. “The college supermatch tool is really helpful to direct some of that exploration and to find schools with their academic desires.”

Naviance can help students explore career options through interest inventories and can lead to an area of study for college. You can also keep track of which colleges you are interested in and  which ones you are actively applying to. The Common Application can connect to your Naviance account and sync the colleges that you are applying to on your account.

Try to narrow your college list to five schools or less. There may be 10 to 15 schools that you would love to apply to, but for many people this can be financially straining. It costs money every time you need to send an ACT/SAT score and almost every college has an application fee. It also takes time to apply to these colleges, so be sure to spend adequate time to make sure every application is the best it can be.

Always apply early. It is generally known that if you apply to a college during their early action application period, then you have better chances of getting into that school. However, be sure that you are applying early action and not early decision. There is a major difference between the two. Early action is non-binding, meaning that if you get accepted, you are not required to go to that school. However, early decision is a binding application, meaning that if you get accepted into that school, you are contractually required to attend that school. Be sure to only do early decision if you are 100 percent sure you want to go to that school.

Know who you are and what you like. College applications are like resumes. They are a showcase of your personality and academic accomplishments, and help the application reader find out who you are. Know what achievements, awards and special honors you have received throughout your high school career and make sure you include them in your application.

Do not miss deadlines! Prevent this by adding all deadlines to a calendar and setting a reminder on when the deadline is. Also, don’t procrastinate. If you wait until the day before your deadline, you won’t be able to make sure your application is the best that it can be.

College application time can be a stressful time for students around the world. If you take a simple approach to the process, it will be much more enjoyable. Starting early and taking your time filling out applications is key, and if you follow some of these tips then you will have a very enjoyable college search!

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