As November 1st quickly approaches, seniors across the country are frantically attempting to finish their early applications for college, and using Common App or other application portals can present confusing and frustrating challenges that make the process more stressful. If this sounds like you, this article will hopefully answer your questions and make the process less stressful.
What Schools Should I Apply To?
The first step in applying to college is to ask yourself “what college do I want to go to?” Sometimes this can be the hardest
step. If you have no idea where you want to go, I highly recommend using Big Future which you can access through a college board account. With Big Future, you can do a filtered search of colleges selecting for factors such as location, selectiveness, campus culture, Majors and Programs,
student body size, religious affiliation, cost, and more. It is an easy-to-use resource that will generate a list of colleges catered to your exact wants and needs, making it the perfect place to start your college search.
Entering Your Schools Into Naviance
So, once you have narrowed down which schools you want to apply to you should add them in Naviance under “Colleges I’m Applying To.” Here, Naviance will create a master list for you of all the schools
you’re applying to and show you important information including the school’s application deadlines, if your transcripts have been received, if the school uses Common App, and eventually, if your application has been accepted along with your admission status.
Letters of Recommendation
Naviance is also where you can request your teacher letters of recommendation. Not all schools will require a letter of
recommendation but many schools, especially the more selective ones, will require it. If any of your schools do require a letter of recommendation, there is a simple process to follow: first, ask your teacher in person, second, go to Naviance and under “Apply To College” select “Letters of Recommendation.” Here you can see which of your schools require the letter of recommendation and add your teachers to which schools you want them to write letters for. It is important to ask your teachers for letters of recommendation as soon as possible! Teachers take a lot of time out of their own schedules to write an amazing letter for you, so make sure to give them plenty of time and tell them thank you!
The Common App
So, what is the Common App? Since many schools have a lot of the same questions on their applications, Common App is a single application you can use to apply to multiple schools. If you don’t have a Common App account already, simply sign up using your personal email account. Once you’re signed in, you can add all of the colleges you’re applying to under “my colleges.” Some schools won’t accept the Common App, however, their applications can usually be found on the school’s website and the application and questions will likely be very similar. Once you have added your schools you can begin filling out the questions located under “Common App.” These questions will include the categories “profile,” “family,” “education,” “testing,” “activities,” and “writing.”
Once you have completed the questions in these areas, you can move on to your school-specific questions by going to “my colleges” and on the sidebar, each school will have its own set of more specific requirements, such as SAT scores (though many schools have gone “test-optional”), supplemental essays, scholarship opportunities, etc. As you finish the applications, you can submit them under “review and submit Common App.” If you’re not finished with your application, you can also view what sections you still need to complete in order to submit your application. Once you submit your application on Common App or on the school’s website your next and final step will be to request your transcripts from your counselor on Naviance. This will also be located in “Colleges I’m Applying To” at the top of your list of colleges.
If you have any further questions regarding your college applications don’t hesitate to visit with your counselor. Good luck Seniors!