Guidance » College Planning

College Planning

The college application process encompasses your entire high school career. Transcript, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities. Make sure you have researched schools, and identified your best-fit colleges.
College Application:
You will most likely complete your college apps online, either through the Common Application or on a school's website. The Common App makes it easy to apply to multiple schools with just one form, but each college will have different requirements for essays and test scores. Read the application instructions for the colleges of your choice carefully.
You will be asked to list basic information about yourself, your school, and your family, as well as your GPA, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and any awards you earned in high school. Some schools may ask you to submit a high school resume. If you start to fill out an application and realize you need more information you will be able to save an in-progress application and return to it before submitting.
Application Fee:
Usually $30–$60.
Many schools offer fee waivers for applying online, by a certain date, or a student's circumstances.
High School Transcript:(need a transcript-- see Kelli)
You will need to request official transcripts from your high school for each college where you're applying.
Most colleges require that transcripts be mailed directly from the high school.
Some colleges require you to collect your transcript in a sealed envelope and submit it with any other paper application materials or submitted electronically. Senior year grades still count!
SAT and ACT Score Reports:
When you take the SAT, ACT you can request that a score report be sent directly to your prospective colleges.
  • Confirm the test policy at every college on your list.  A school may consider:
  • all test scores from all dates
  • your highest overall score from a single test date
  • your superscore, in which case you'll submit all your scores and the admissions committee will consider only the highest score on each section
  • test scores may be completely optional
Letters of Recommendation:
Most colleges require two or three letters of recommendation from high school teachers or school counselors.
Pick someone who knows you well and can speak to your strengths.
Some schools may ask for one recommendation to be from someone who can speak to your character over your academic work, like an employer or family friend.
Request your recommendations—politely—about two months prior to the application deadline.
Give your recommenders all of the information they need to complete the recommendation, whether it's a website with login information or stamped envelopes with hard copy forms.     
Complete the recommendation letter form. ( They more they know about you the easier it will be to complete a letter)
Don't forget to say thank you!
Personal Statement:
Your college essay will probably be the most time-consuming part of your application—start early.
Use your essay as an opportunity to tell admissions counselors what makes you unique and what you can bring to a given campus community.
The essay guidelines will be provided in the application along with length (usually 300 to 500 words).
Ask a teacher, counselor or parent for feedback on your drafts.
Revise, proofread, and repeat!
Financial Aid:
Be aware that applying for admission and applying for financial aid are two separate processes.
Complete and submit your FAFSA as soon after October 1 as possible
Check every school's financial aid policies—some will require additional forms
Check with the school and know the deadlines for submitting forms.
Research student loan options thoroughly before borrowing.
Common App:
The Common Application is a college application shared by its member colleges. Member colleges then accept this application from prospective students.
So what does this mean for you? Instead of filling out an individual application for each school, all you have to do is fill out the Common Application once and send it to whichever colleges you want to apply to that accept it.
However, this doesn’t mean you can apply to dozens of colleges with the click of a button. Many colleges have additional supplements you have to submit. These are forms with additional questions and sometimes an extra essay.
Filling out the Common Application itself is free, but students may have to pay to submit the application to schools. These fees can vary from $25 to nearly $100 per school, but fee waivers are readily available to those with financial need through the National Association for College Admission Counseling.


A Bachelor of Arts degree offers students a broader education in their major. Students are required to take a variety of liberal art subjects such as humanities, literature, history, social sciences, communications, and a foreign language. Students can select from a diverse list of courses that fulfill each liberal arts requirement. This allows students to actively mold their education to their interests. A BA degree provides a more diverse education in a particular major, therefore, a BA degree generally requires less credits than a BS degree.

Bachelor of Arts degrees are commonly offered in fields like English, art, music, modern languages and communication.






A Bachelor of Science degree offers students a more specialized education in their major. Generally, a BS degree requires more credits than a BA degree because a BS degree is more focused in the specific major. Students are required to focus on studying their major at a more in-depth level. Students have fewer chances to take classes outside of their major. A BS degree is generally offered in technical and scientific topics like engineering, technology, mathematics, computer science, nursing, and biochemistry. Although a BS degree is generally offered in scientific degrees, many schools offer BS degrees in specialized fields.