You've been preparing for college for a while, and now it's time to complete your college applications. Every college application is different. Some applications have lots of requirements, and others have very few. However, most colleges generally require the following:
As a CPS student, you can take the ACT and SAT during your junior year. Look at the range of ACT and SAT scores for the colleges where you want to apply. How do you measure up?
The college essay is the place to tell what makes you unique - what makes you stand out.
Tips on preparing your college essay:
- Read the instructions in the college application carefully.
- Be sure your essay addresses the topic and covers all of the points in the instructions.
- Stay within the word limit.
- Give yourself plenty of time to write the essay.
- Ask a teacher or counselor to read it.
- Read it out loud.
- Revise, revise, revise and don't forget to spell check!
Activities Outside of High School
Colleges like to see that you've participated in volunteer and extracurricular activities consistently over the years. You'll be asked to list these activities on your college applications.
If you are drawing a blank, think about what you do outside of school. Do you have a job or family responsibilities? Do you tutor or work at the Park District? Those activities should be listed on this part of the application. If you have no activities get involved now!
Most colleges request two or three recommendation letters from people who know you in and out of the classroom. Usually one recommendation is from your counselor and the other from one of your academic teachers.
How to get a great recommendation:
- Choose the person carefully. Find someone who knows you well, perhaps the teacher who supervised a special project or perhaps your youth minister.
- Ask the person early to write the recommendation. Don't ask a few days before the deadline!
- Give the person your resume or a short summary of your interests, activities, and achievements.
- Talk to the person about your goals.
- Write a thank-you note after the person writes the recommendation.
Reach - Target - Safety
Aim to apply to five colleges and to complete five scholarship applications and the FAFSA by the end of January of your senior year.
Why five? When you apply to only one or two schools, you take a risk. You might be turned down, or you might close off your options too soon. The five schools you apply to should include reach, target, and safety schools.
Your top choices, the most academically challenging schools on your list. You should include a couple of long shots, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Schools where you would be very happy and are likely to be admitted. These are your realistic choices.
Schools where you are almost certain to be admitted and where you think you would be happy and get a good education.