What I Wish I Knew About The College Application Process

Valentina Arias

When one first arrives at high school, the first thing every upperclassman says is how hard junior year is. While I admit junior year was extremely difficult, nothing can beat the stress and anxiety senior year has brought me.

While I have had the luxury of incredible support and guidance from Miami Palmetto Senior High School’s CAP Advisor, Linda Dwyer, the overall experience of submitting college applications has been unimaginably stressful. These are a few tips I wish I knew before applying to colleges.

Do Hefty Research on Colleges

While this may seem like a very generic response, it is not. There are several factors to consider when applying for college rather than whether a school’s academics are a good fit. The area, state and campus life are just as important to consider. The location of the college one chooses is where one will be living for the next four years, so it must be a place one can thrive in.

Organizing Your College Applications

For anyone who plans on applying to colleges shortly, one of the biggest things I urge one to do is make a set list of possible colleges to apply to and jot down deadlines for each. Make a spreadsheet and add the cost of the application as well. This saves time and stress in the long run, reducing lingering anxiety about the cost of college applications and deadlines. Being proactive also allows for timeliness with applications, turning them in on the final day is chaotic. Many colleges prefer for students to send in applications beforehand since some require a few other steps before final submission. 

Look Into Financial Aid

Looking into financial aid early saves students a lot of money. College on its own is costly, so why not get money in any way one can? There are various financial aid opportunities, so once a list of potential schools is made, check to see the school’s financial aid programs. Options can range from state financial aid to work study, so there are potential aid opportunities available for everyone.

Do Not Forget to Apply for Scholarships

Scholarships will save a student from being in debt in college. This is something many seniors forget until the end. Checking early on will save money and provide opportunities. These scholarships can help pay off the annual tuition for classes, housing, food, textbooks and much more.

Even if Your Question is Small, Get it Answered

No matter how silly a question may seem, it will never be small or unnecessary. All questions should be asked and will usually be answered by a college guidance advisor or the university itself. No question is too small and most people will be more than happy to answer questions. There are always resources available, so never feel like a burden by asking.