West Side Story

The Student News Site of Wyoming Valley West High School

The Student News Site of Wyoming Valley West High School

West Side Story

The Student News Site of Wyoming Valley West High School

West Side Story

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Navigating College Applications


During the fall semester of senior year, many high school students can feel very overwhelmed with college applications. Attempting to plan the future can be frightening, however it does not have to be. 

Millions of students each year go through the same process of gathering grades, test scores, and accomplishments to send into colleges. It can be quite stressful making sure it is all perfect, but with the right tools and guidance it can go smoothly.

Starting applications early is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth application process. Procrastination often leads to added stress. Students should begin researching colleges they might be interested in during their junior year of high school.

Even without knowing precisely what your decided major may be, just starting to look at possible campuses is a great start. It is better to complete this process early, rather than scramble to meet deadlines days before.

Another important task of the application process is creating a personal statement. Through a college essay, students can showcase their unique qualities, experiences, and dreams.

Being authentic and true to yourself is the best way to create a good essay. Reflect on your life experiences and portray them how you see fit. Having peer evaluators and teachers look over your essay is also a good step.

When it comes to recommendation letters, students often find teachers who can portray their character and abilities well. Requesting these letters in advance will give these recommenders plenty of time to craft thoughtful responses.

Although standardized tests have become less popular as a requirement in the application process, certain schools do still require them. It is best to prepare thoroughly, whether for the SAT or ACT, and perform to your best ability. Many students take their SATs during the spring of junior year and fall of senior year.

During this time, it is also important to vary your extracurricular activities. Colleges look for well-rounded students who contribute to their communities. Showcase your passion through clubs, sports, and volunteer work. Knowing what certain colleges are looking for is important.

Some colleges require supplemental essays, portfolios, or certain criteria. Alter your applications accordingly, showing interest in that institution. Keeping an organized and thorough technique throughout the application process is key. 

Creating a checklist of deadlines, documents, and submissions for colleges can help to stay on track and avoid extra stress. If college is the path you choose, it does not have to be stressful getting there!

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