College Application Process

  • So, here you are, a senior, starting to apply to colleges.  Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) to help make this process a bit easier.

    To how many schools should I apply?  

     It is recommended that you apply to three to five colleges.

    • A "reach" school - this is a college that is your dream school, one which you may not exactly meet the admission requirements but you still want to apply.
    • Two or three "good match" schools - these are colleges whose requirements you match and stand a very good change of getting accepted.
    • a "safe" school - this is a college you know that you will be accepted to without any difficulty.

    ***Applying to colleges can be expensive so be sure to research and visit colleges to narrow your selections for application.

    What are the different types of Admission

    • Traditional - apply by specified deadline date
    • Early Decision - apply by specified date as stated by specific college.  Students will hear of acceptance by the end of December/start of January.  If accepted, you must withdraw applications to all other schools and accept admission to this college.  A student can only apply to one college under the early decision application.
    • Early Action - specific deadline typically around Oct/Nov.  The college will notify you of admission by end of Dec.  You can defer your decision to attend that college until April.  This gives you the opportunity to hear from other schools.
    • Rolling Admission - typically no deadlines, can apply and receive response immediately within up to 2 months.

    Where can I get applications?     

    • Online is the best place to start.  Visit the admission page of the college web-site to either complete it on-line or print/download a copy.
    • College Representatives.  If a college admission representative visits the high school, they will have applications available at that time.
    • College Open Houses or College Visits - an admission representative will have applications available at that time.
    • "Common Application" - this is an application that is used by many highly competitive and private colleges/universities.  By completing just one application you can copy it in order to apply to all the colleges on your list that use this application.
      • When completing the Common Application DO NOT specify a college/university in essays or letters as all the schools using this application will see this information.

    Do I need letters of recommendation?      

    Not all colleges require recommendations.  They are generally required by private or highly competitive schools.  Read all admission requirements.  It will be listed if the college is in need of letters of recommendation. Pay attention to your intended major.  Some colleges will require recommendations for specific majors. 

    How do I obtain the best letters of recommendation?

    Some colleges will require a certain number of letters of recommendation. For counselor letters of recommendation, please complete a "Student Information Sheet" (this can be found on Naviance).  Give this complete form to your counselor to write a letter.  We ask that you allow 1 week minimum for the completion of the letter.  Inaddition, some schools will have a school profile form or a counselor form to be completed.  Be sure to check with each school's specific requirements.  Counselor recommendations, if needed, will be included iwth your transcript.

    For teacher letters of recommendation:

    • Ask a teacher from an 11th or 12th grade major subject area or a teacher who knows you well. 
    • Ask the teacher in plenty of time (advanced notice) to write the recommendation.   DO NOT ASK THE DAY BEFORE AN APPLICATION IS DUE.  Rule of thumb:  Give at least 2-3 weeks notice.
    • Request a recommendation using Naviance or give your teacher a pre-addressed stamped envelope in which to mail your recommendation letters unless the application specifically states that all application forms and letters need to be submitted together.

    ***Follow all directions as outlined in the application.  Remember this is your first impression with this college.  Make it a good impression!

    How important are essays?


    • If there is an "optional" essay listed on an application, please change the word "optional" to "required" in your mind.  Responding to an optional essay could make the difference of acceptance into a college.
    • Respond to all essay questions thoughtfully and carefully.
    • Try to personalize your essay.
    • PROOFREAD your essay.  Once again you want to make a good impression.  Grammatical and spelling errors do not make a good impression.
    • Make sure you SPELL CHECK all online applications and essays before you upload them
    • If completing an essay on paper, use blue or black ink only.

    How do I request a high school transcript?

    • Most colleges and scholarship applications will want an OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT.  This means that the transcripts must be sent directly from the Guidance Office to the college.  You may request an UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT for your records, but colleges will not accept an unofficial copy.
    • First, you will need to complete a Transcript Release form. Submit this completed form to the guidance office. This authorizes the guidance office to release your transcript to schools and allows the counselor to follow-up with any additional information that may be needed.  

    • Second, you will request your transcripts to be sent by a request through Naviance. Click on "Colleges", "Colleges I'm Applying To", and then "Add Colleges to this List". Once your colleges are added, click on "Request a Transcript".  Your counselor will upload your transcript to Naviance and send it electronically to your selected colleges.

    • Please allow 5 school days to process a transcript request.

    I've completed my application and all the necessary letters, what's next?

    • If you have completed your application on-line, you will need to complete a Transcript Release Form. 
    • If a recommendation letter is part of the application, please inform your counselor (i.e email message) and complete a Student Information Form for the letter of recommendation. You can pick up a copy in the Guidance Office or complete the form on Naviance and print it for your counselor.
    • If you are applying using a paper application, you will need to bring the completed application and any required, additional forms to the Guidance Secretary along with your completed Transcript Release Form, envelope and postage.  She will mail your application and transcript to the college. (Allow 5 school days from the time you hand in your forms until the time it is actually mailed.)
    • Please include the required # of stamps with each paper application. (Rule of thumb:  If you are sending any additional paperwork with your transcript you will need 4 stamps per envelope.  If you only need the transcript sent, use 2 stamps per envelop.  If you are using a large 8 1/2 x 11 envelope, it will need 4 stamps regardless of what needs to be sent as this is an oversized envelop requiring additional postage.)
    • The Guidance Office does not collect and hold recommendations from teachers.
    • You may need to notify Collegeboard to have your SAT scores mailed directly to the college.  Your SAT scores are no longer on your transcript. Many colleges want them sent directly from the testing service.  You can complete this by visiting  The requested reports will have a fee attached.

    Is there anything else I should know?

    • High School Code/CEEB Code is 393035
    • Applications should be spotless!  If using paper application, complete in blue or black ink only (use an erasable pen if you tend to make mistakes).  Double check online applications for errors prior to submitting.
    • Make sure you answered every question and filled in all of the necessary blanks.
    • Resume'?  If you have been very active or successful in a special interest, club or sport, a resume of your involvement(s) can be a good supplement to include with your application.
    • DEADLINES!!!!!!    OBEY THEM!!!!!   The dates vary with each school!!!!!!  Give the Guidance Department at least 5 school days to process your application.
    • Use either Halloween or Thanksgiving as a target date for submitting your applications.



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