The College Application Process  

Helpful Hints

The college application can be downright scary it's all about details, details, details!

Below are some tips to help you stay organized throughout the college application process. Seniors, in addition to the information outlined below, be sure to read our comprehensive college-prep timeline for a month-by-month checklist of all the steps you should be taking and when during your senior year.

Before you start the application process, have you done the following

  • Researched your career areas to determine what college majors you are interested in?
  • Made sure the colleges you are interested in offer your major?
  • Looked through the college websites and catalogs to learn about the courses you will need to take.
  • Looked at college websites/catalogs to determine what the admission requirements are for each college.
  • Guidance counselors recommend that students have one "safety" school (academic and financial safety), two schools where you seem to fit the profile, and maybe a "reach" school (academic or financial reach).
  • Called ahead to visit the school? Gone on a tour of the campus? Picked up an application and interviewed with an admissions representative? This is a good opportunity to share what you have to offer each other and assess your chances of being accepted at a particular college.

So, now you have applications, right? If not, then check with your counselor to see if he or she has one. If not, call the college and ask them to mail you an application or apply online. Or does the college you are applying to use the Common Application? Over 350 colleges nationwide do. View the Common Application

Preparing to apply is a big job, but actually sitting down to fill out the applications can be even more intimidating. Don't let some paperwork stand between you and your dreams! Take a deep breath and dive right in!

  • BEFORE you start Get a pen, the college application, the instructions, a piece of paper (to make a list).
  • READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!! Do you need a black pen?
  • Use a pencil first to fill out the application OR make a photocopy to fill out a practice application. The goal is to avoid submitting an application with mistakes or cross outs.
  • Follow the instructions thoroughly for each application item.
  • Use the sheet of paper you have to list the things you have questions about and make a list of the other things you need to complete the application (teacher recommendations, application fee, activities sheet, etc).
  • Watervliet's CEEB school code is 335830.
  • Request written recommendations from teachers, counselor, coaches, etc. (with Recommendation Request Sheet) and provide each person with the necessary forms. Recommendations must be requested a minimum of two weeks before you need them.
  • Check each application deadline and be continuously aware of this date. Applications are due to your counselor AT LEAST two weeks before the due date to the college.
  • KEEP IN MIND Counselors will always make time to see seniors, but please schedule appointments in advance to make sure there is sufficient time to work with you, answer your questions, etc.
  • Read application essay questions carefully and select one. Work with an English teacher on this. Give a draft to your counselor to review for content and suggestions. Start this early!
  • Carefully look over your completed application and have a trusted adult look at it also.
  • Include a check for payment of the application processing fee. Read instructions for who to make the check out to and write your name and social security number in the "memo" portion of the check. Include that in the envelope for the application.
  • Drop off your completed application to your counselor or preferably, make an appointment to review your applications with your counselor. Ask any questions from your list and have your counselor double check that you have everything.
  • Now relax, if possible, and wait it out. Good luck!
  • Be sure to follow up on filing your financial aid information.
  • Wait for college acceptance letters and financial aid packages to begin arriving in April.
  • Decide which college you will attend.
  • Send in your deposit by the stated deadline to secure your spot at college.
  • When you hear back from any school let your counselor know the verdict right away!