Applying to college can be stressful and overwhelming. That’s why Groza Learning Center is here to help you every step of the way.
If you’re wondering how to get into the school of your dreams, we have all the answers! We know that the application process can be intimidating and confusing, so we’ve broken it down in a way that makes it easy for you to follow.
From choosing an essay topic, studying for standardized tests, and making sure you take the right classes in high school, our comprehensive guide will give you everything you need to succeed.
It’s a big deal to be applying to college. We get it—you have so many questions.
- Is there a place for extracurricular activities and standardized tests?
- What kind of essay should you write for your college application?
- How do you pay for college once you have been accepted?
You’re not the first person to ask these questions, and we can help answer them. A great place to start is by looking at our list of tasks that must be completed during the college application process. If you are missing something from this list, review each of the sections below and see what you can do to get up to speed.
Take a look at the timeline below as a guide! Keep in mind that each school has its own unique requirements, so make sure to check with them before you apply so you know exactly what information you need to submit.
College is a big decision, and the application process is stressful, especially when you’re not sure what to expect.
When you’re applying to college, there are a lot of moving pieces. It’s easy to get overwhelmed about what you need to do and when, which can result in putting off important tasks. We’ve created a more detailed timeline to help you keep track of everything.
September to November
For National Merit Scholarship eligibility purposes, take the PSAT as an underclassman in your junior year. If your child does well on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), he or she may qualify to be named a National Merit Scholar, an honor recognized by colleges and associated with a sizeable grant. You can give your child a competitive advantage by having access to the best PSAT instructors available.
At the beginning of junior year, begin preparing for the SAT and/or ACT. The best way to determine which test is right for you is to take a full-length practice exam for each. In many cases, students take their test of choice twice or three times, with the final test taking place in the fall of their senior year. Groza Learning Center has excellent SAT preparation materials for you to peruse. Practice tests are an excellent way to identify areas of strength and weakness and establish an initial score performance level for Groza SAT preparation. It is clear from our in-depth score report and test analysis which content areas need to be addressed and prioritized for a subsequent review.
You won’t know what you want in a school if you don’t know what’s out there. Learn more about the colleges, universities, and other higher-education institutions that are available to you—and make sure to study more than just rankings. Prepare for college by doing research online, attending college fairs, talking to admissions representatives, and asking friends who are already in school about their experiences at various institutions. During your junior and senior years, keep up this practice.
Go visit local colleges! Take time in the fall of your junior year to visit local colleges. Even if these aren’t schools you want to attend, this will provide you with an initial sense of setting foot on campus for the first time as a new student, joining clubs and organizations once you get there, and taking classes. You’ll probably find that it’s not nearly as bad or as scary as you thought it would be.
December to February
In the winter of junior year, take the SAT and/or ACT for the first time. Plan to take the SAT or ACT again in the spring of your junior or fall of your senior year. As a general rule, students perform better on their second attempt.
You should take the SAT Subject Tests. While you can take most of these tests at any time during high school, it’s best to take them as soon as possible after you’ve taken the relevant class. For example, if you want to show off your mastery of chemistry and take the Chemistry Subject Test, it makes sense to take the test immediately after completing your chemistry course. This way, you’ll be demonstrating mastery over recent work, which is exactly what colleges are looking for.
It’s important to research each school thoroughly when making your initial list. To begin, make a list of around 10 colleges of interest with the goal of having several schools at varying levels of selectivity. Continue updating this list throughout junior year and at the beginning of senior year, since new options may come to light as you continue to explore, visit campuses or learn more about potential majors.Toward the end of junior year, it is time to begin searching for more traditional scholarships that are only open to seniors. Because there are so many out there, getting started as early as possible will give you the best chance of obtaining the funds you require for college.
March to May
Take the SAT and/or ACT for a second time in the spring of junior year if you think you can improve on your initial results.
Prep for spring SAT Subject Tests—some colleges require these tests, so it is best to take them as soon as you finish the relevant class and while you are still remembering everything.Taking AP exams can be a great way to get some college credit and get ahead in your education. And now’s the time to start preparing for those tests.
June to August
Find out when the deadlines are for each of the schools you are considering applying to. If you apply for early admissions in November of your senior year, you will typically have until March 1 to submit the rest of your application.
Prepare for your interviews by researching the colleges to which you intend to apply, identifying those that may conduct optional interviews, and practicing with a teacher who is available to help you. It is always a good idea to prepare for your actual interview before you go in.
Start early for better results! Begin drafting essays. You can start by brainstorming a list of topics that you think would make good essay subjects. Keep in mind that colleges are looking for essays that show them who you are as a person, not just your academic achievements or accomplishments. Try to think of subjects that relate to your interests, your life experiences, and what you feel is important or meaningful to you. You’ll want to pick something that really speaks to who you are, so take some time and let yourself think about this.It’s so important to understand how much your education will cost and what financial aid opportunities are available to you. A good place to start is by checking out college net price calculators. You can find these on the websites of individual colleges and universities, but they provide an estimate of how much your family will have to contribute toward your college expenses, based on the information you provide about your family’s finances. You can also use them to compare between schools and see which ones might cost less for you. This is a perfect tool for when you’re making those important decisions about where to apply!
September to November
In the fall of your senior year, take the SAT and/or ACT again if you believe you can improve on your initial scores.
It is recommended that letters of recommendation be submitted at least one month prior to the application deadline; therefore, provide the letter of recommendation forms to your recommenders, along with stamped envelopes addressed to each college where you are submitting an application.
Early action applications should be submitted. For early action schools, you will receive a decision before the regular decision deposit deadline, but you will be able to make your final choice after the regular decision deposit deadline.Prepare for early admissions interviews by being self-assured. However, do not be concerned if you have an interview for one of the early action/decision schools in the fall. The only thing left is for you to engage in a conversation about what you have learned.
December to February
Some colleges require students to take SAT Subject Tests. It is best taken as soon as possible after you have completed the relevant course and while the material is still fresh in your mind.
Regularly submit applications for decision-making. Regular decision deadlines for most colleges fall between January 1 and March 1. Take advantage of this opportunity because it gives you a great deal of freedom in your search for a college.
You’ve done it. You’ve made it to senior year of high school and you’re on your way to college! But before you get there, you have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please submit your application as soon as possible, as some schools only provide financial assistance to those who apply first.
One of the most important ways that you can get money to pay for college is by applying for financial aid. Apply for school-based aid by filling out and submitting the CSS PROFILE. In order to determine financial aid, some schools also use the CSS PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA.
March to May
Make sure your CSS PROFILE and FAFSA are up to date. If your initial FAFSA / CSS PROFILE was based on estimated data from your most recent tax returns, you should update it with the actual data from your most recent tax returns.
Financial aid packages from various schools can be compared. Students accepted into colleges receive a package of financial aid that includes grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.
Take the AP Exams, which are offered each year in May and provide students with the opportunity to earn college credit.
June to August
Once you’ve made your choice about what college to attend, you’ll be able to expect updates regarding orientation, scheduling, housing details, etc. Make sure to complete all of your paperwork by the necessary deadlines so you’re all squared away before classes start.
Find a job for work-study students. Work-study opportunities can be found by coordinating with the financial aid office. The summer before college or the fall of your first year of college is a good time to wrap up your job search. If you think you’re eligible for work-study, talk to the financial aid office at your school. They’ll be able to tell you if you qualify, but they can also help you find job listings on campus. That’s one less step you have to take to get a job!
GROZA LEARNING CENTER
At Groza Learning Center, we know what it takes to succeed in college applications. We have years of experience helping students present themselves as their best selves, and we’ve seen time and time again what works—and what doesn’t. We’re here to help you prepare for your college endeavors by giving you all the necessary tools that will help you succeed in your college applications.
Whether you’re a high school senior, a rising freshman, or a student who has already started their path to higher education, we’re here for you!
Over the years, we have come across students who are confused about their college applications. Our mission here at Groza Learning Center is to make sure that you have all the necessary resources to get into the college of your dreams. We believe in your abilities and know you can do it!
We are here for you every step of the way. From helping you improve your GPA to getting ready for entrance exams, we’re here to help! Our tutors are dedicated to helping you succeed and will work with you until you feel comfortable and confident.Our website consists of college readiness tips, admissions guidance, online tutoring and more. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us.