College application process
The college application process can feel overwhelming because there are so many components involved. Take a deep breath and remember that the goal is to give admissions selection committees an accurate picture of your abilities, capabilities, character and motivation to succeed in college through a combination of sources. Attention to detail, though, is universally important. Take the time to make sure all materials are in order.
Applications are submitted throughout the fall and winter of your senior year, and it’s never too early to get started.
Also, if you’re questioning whether or not you should apply to a certain school, go for it. You’ll never know where you might be accepted or what kind of aid is available unless you apply.
The application form
Name, address, date of birth ...you know the drill. The application provides the basic information about you, where you go to school and in what activities you've been involved. You can apply with a paper application or online. Some schools offer incentives to students who apply online, including waiving the application fee, so be sure to check.
College entrance exams
Fun? No way! Required? Almost always. College entrance exams are important; make plans to take the test early in your junior year so you have the option to retake the test if you think you can improve your scores the second time. All of Minnesota's Private Colleges accept scores from the ACT or the SAT.
Academics are the core of your college education, so admissions selection committees are looking for proof that you have the ability to succeed in the classroom. Your high school transcript allows colleges to see the types and levels of classes you have taken, as well as the grades you earned. Questions on what to take? Learn which types of classes to take.
The information in your application is only a snapshot of who you are. That's why colleges typically require letters of recommendation from those who spend time with you — teachers, employers, coaches, pastors, mentors and so on. These letters, in combination with other materials, often reveal hidden strengths and qualities.
Personal statement or written work
Many colleges will require you to answer additional questions about yourself as part of the application. There are no right or wrong answers here. The admissions selection committee is looking at your writing skills, as well as your personality. This is your chance to tell your own story about why you want to go to college and why you are a good applicant. Often the personal statement can explain any inconsistencies in your application or explain how you've overcome a great obstacle. Do not underestimate the power of a strong personal statement, which is often the part that admission counselors are likely to remember after reading hundreds of applications!