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What is College Admissions?

act applying to college college acceptance college admissions college application plans fafsa sat Mar 24, 2022

If you are considering going to college you have probably heard the term “college admissions”, but do you really know what is all included in college admissions? The college admissions process begins earlier than you might think - in freshman year of high school - and continues all the way through freshman year of college. 

While some students know what school they want to go to and how they plan to get accepted, others may have to take a lot of time and effort to plan for college admissions. A college admissions consultant can help walk you through every step of the process to help ensure your success. In this article, we will provide an overview of the admissions process and important things you should consider and plan for as you prepare for college admissions. 


What is College Admissions

Let’s begin by answering the question, “what is college admissions?” College admissions is the process in which students prepare, apply, and interview for college before receiving an official acceptance or rejection letter from their schools of choice. 

The admissions process actually begins as early as your freshman year of high school when planning what classes to take and determine your goal GPA. The process becomes more prevalent in junior and senior years as you take standardized tests, choose the right college for you, and begin applying to schools. 

College admissions is a competitive process and there are no guarantees. That is why it is so important to have several college options available to you. In many cases, colleges only admit a small percentage of applicants, meaning that they are rather selective. In fact, some top-tier colleges admit as little as 10% of applicants every year. In addition, colleges take into account several factors in determining admissions for applicants including tuition, financial aid, housing, and current enrollment.


Planning For College

Planning for college looks a bit different for each student depending on their goals. However, most college plans should include the same basic elements. As you enter high school, you should consult with your guidance counselor to plan out your classes to match your college goals. In addition, your counselor or college admissions consultant can help you determine what grades you should aim to achieve to have the best chance of gaining admission to your school of choice. 

In addition to your classes and grades, it is important to consider what extracurricular activities you want to participate in throughout your high school career. At this point, it can be helpful to perform preliminary college research to get an idea of what programs or colleges might be of interest to you as you go through your high school years. 

College planning will continue throughout high school with additional milestones every year. A college admissions consultant can provide you with a road map for success detailing which things your should be accomplishing and when. For example, you will need to do college research, track your extracurricular activities and volunteer work, practice and take standardized tests, and learn how to write a college admissions essay. 


Preparing For College

Once you have your college planning laid out, it is time to actually put it into action. Preparing for college starts with maintaining your grades and participating in extracurricular activities. The next step is usually taking standardized tests. Depending on your location, this might be the ACT or the SAT test. In some cases, you may want to take the PSAT or PreACT in 9th or 10th grade to increase your chances of doing well on the actual test junior or senior year of high school.

In addition, you will need to perform research on potential colleges to determine which schools are the best fit for you. This might include reviewing school websites and social media, interviewing alumni, and visiting campuses. 

It is important to remember that admission is not guaranteed, no matter how good your college application looks, there are thousands of other applicants who are just as qualified as you. That is why you will want to select a range of backup schools. The Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) allows you to select up to 10 schools when applying for aid, however, it is common to see students only apply to three to five schools. 

Another way to prepare for college admissions is to develop relationships with teachers that will set you up for success and allow you to ask for a letter of recommendation. You can also get help with learning how to write a college admissions essay from teachers or your college admissions consultant. 


Applying For College

After all the planning and preparation, you will need to fill out your college applications. Before you apply, you will need to understand what model of admissions the school you are applying to is using. In general, there are four admissions models that a school may use: regular decisions, rolling admissions, early action, and early decision. Early action and early decision options are the most recommended options by counselors to increase your chances of acceptance. 

A regular decision is when the deadline for submissions for the fall semester is somewhere between December and March with a decision coming by mail in March or April. Rolling admissions allows students to receive notification of their admissions status as soon as a decision is made, rather than during a defined period of time. Early action has a deadline that falls between December and January to allow students time to apply for other colleges the same year if they are denied. Finally, early decision is similar to early action, however, the student agrees to commit to enrollment if they are admitted and must withdraw their application from any other institution upon acceptance. 

Every application is different, however, in general, you will need to meet the admission requirements and provide your transcript, score reports, letters of recommendation, and application essay. In many cases, you will also provide your extracurricular activities and other information about yourself. 

For more information about the college admissions process, contact a college admissions consultant so you can be prepared for anything that comes your way!


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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