College Selection and Application Process

When you are a sophomore, attending college may sound far away.  As a rising junior, you should start thinking about applying to college, and you will have a lot of things to do: prepare for the standardized test, make a college list, begin practicing the essays, the list grows.

Selecting a college can be a complicated process, and it is always important. First, make a list of the universities you like or are interested in, check their official website, and if you can, schedule a visit. A college tour can always help you to understand the school’s mission. Second, you will need to apply to more schools than just the ones you may favor the most. At this point, you need rankings, including the national rank, global rank, overall rank, and the U.S news rank. The QS rank is always beneficial. While researching the rankings, you need to understand the school’s academic requirements and determine whether your grades meet this requirement. When you make your list, be sure to add some safety schools that you are confident of getting in. Remember to talk with your counselors, and they can help you solve many questions.

From 2021 to 2022, most schools are adopting a test optional policy, which means that standardized tests are no longer a mandatory requirement, but again they will focus on GPA. When applying to some of the higher ranked schools, a good standardized test score will make you more competitive among applicants.

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Tuition is also an important consideration. Private schools are usually much more expensive than public schools, and out-of-state public schools are not cheap as well, but you can apply for financial aid, which is granted based on your financial situation. You can apply for FAFSA up to 10 schools.

There are two websites for applying to universities: common app and coalition. Usually, they have similar steps, fill out the information, upload documents, complete the essay, and finally, you can pay the application fee, which usually ranges from $50 to $80. Some students have the privilege to waive it. Some schools have their own application system or can only use their application system: for example, the University of California.

Essential considerations for successfully applying to colleges include remembering to record your account password for the common application website. Keep in mind the decision release date of each school. Check the applicant portal from time to time, or simply wait for the decision email.

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