Along with an application, many colleges and universities may need you to submit some or all of the following materials:
- Admission Test Scores (ACT/SAT)
- Audition/Portfolio (Often needed if applying to a fine arts/art program)
- High School Transcripts
- Letters of Recommendation
- Personal Statement/Essay
Admission Test Scores
Admission test scores are often requested because they help determine a student's academic capability, especially at college-level work. They often involve national testing companies such as the College Board. Depending upon the college, you may have the option to take either the ACT or SATs (SAT I and SAT II), which are given many times during the year. You should always check to make sure you can register to take the test before your application deadline, though.
Auditions and/or portfolios are often necessary if you're applying for a program in the arts, music, or design. This will involve documenting prior work by way of an on-campus audition or by submitting slides, a tape or other work sample to demonstrate your ability. This type of specialization is usually not handled through the admissions office. Check with the department or school that you are applying to for additional guidelines and restrictions.
High School Transcript
Your high school transcript is either filled out by an official of your high school or an official copy is sent from your high school to the college you are applying to. If your college requires a written form, you need to give this to your guidance counselor so it can be completed as early as possible. Even if your high school simply sends an official copy to the college you are applying, inquire about the length of processing and delivery time. Plan ahead, so you won't be scrambling last minute to meet the deadlines.
Interviews are usually not required by most colleges or universities. Still, an interview will give you the chance to make a connection with someone who participates in the admission process, so it's always a good idea to arrange one if possible. If you're too far away for an on-campus interview, you could possibly meet with an alumnus in your community.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are required by many private colleges. These colleges will ask you to submit at least one letter of recommendation from a counselor, teacher or other adult who knows you well. When asking for a letter recommendation, you need to give the letter writer two weeks or even more to complete it. Show them you are respectful to their time constraints. They may also ask for additional information, so they can write a well-prepared letter.
A personal statement or essay is an important part of your college application as it lets the admissions board get to know you better. Often, the college will provide a specific theme or question. However, some colleges may give you a general question about your academic or personal life. This essay should be taken seriously. When writing the paper, try to be honest and express your individuality. Try not second-guess what you think they might want to hear. If you need additional help, ask a teacher or guidance counselor for advice.