Preparing for the College Application

About this article
To help reduce some of the anxiety during the college application process, plan ahead and try not to procrastinate. This article provides suggestions that helps you stay focused and organized when applying to colleges.
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There are many pieces of information to submit for your application for a college or university. It is likely that you are applying to several different schools, so you can reduce the anxiety of acquiring all these pieces of information by starting early and not procrastinating. Also, have a copy of your high school transcript on hand. You will also need to know your social security number and high school code.

Those at collegeboard.com suggest you make a folder for each college you apply to. At the front of each folder should be a checklist of required materials and the date each is due. When you later reference this folder, you can see at a glance what's been taken care of and what still needs to be completed.

Most applications request a list of activities you have participated in, a list of honors and awards, career interests and some may even ask for a statement from personal references. Acquiring activities and honors information from years past requires time and energy. Start gathering this information early. Brainstorm before getting started and ask the following questions of yourself:

  • Which activities were most significant to me and why?
  • Does a particular award or honor stand out in my mind?
  • What might I contribute to the college that no one else would?

The experts at collegeboard.com want you keep in mind a simple ideology when filling out the applications: Honesty is the best policy. Admission officers can detect brown-nosing, exaggeration and outright lies. Admission officers want to see an honest picture of your individual interests to get a better idea of who you are.

Consider filling out the supplemental information category of your college application. The necessity of this section varies depending upon the school. Some schools may not even require it. The supplemental information category is a chance for you to explain special circumstances or detail unique abilities. If there is no such section on your application, contact your school's admission office and inquire about including such materials. Aspiring musicians, for example, might wish to send slides or a videotape of a performance. Be sure to label such materials and indicate on the application that it is included.

Applications all have similar requirements and it is perfectly permissible to use the same materials for different schools. Send the packets certified mail, so you get confirmation and a record that they were delivered on time.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Health Care Quality
      • Masters in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
      • Graduate Certificate in Multimedia Development
      • Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
      • Graduate Certificate in Transition Special Education
      • Education Specialist in Educational Leadership and Administration
      • Graduate Certificate in E-Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    3. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
      • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Certificate
      • Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate
      • Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    4. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Economics
      • Master of Public Administration and Policy
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Agile Project Management
      • Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Analytics and Management
      • Graduate Certificate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MSCJ: Law
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master: Psychology/General Psychology
      • MSPY - Industrial/Organizational Psychology Specialization
    Bachelor's
      • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
    Certificate
      • Psychology
      • Medical Assisting
      • Certificate in Human Services
      • Medical Office Administration
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
      • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
      • Master of Science in Engineering Technology
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Liberal Arts
      • Master of Arts in Science Writing
      • Master of Science in Applied Economics
      • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
      • Master of Science in Bioinformatics
    Certificate
      • Certificate in Government Analytics
      • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Research for Communication
      • MS in Food Safety Regulation
      • Certificate in Science Writing
      • Certificate in Science, Technology, and International Security Studies
      • Post-Master's Certificate in Sequence Analysis and Genomics
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    8. Brightwood College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Medical Assistant - AS
    Certificate
      • Computer Networking Technology
      • Dental Assistant
      • Medical Office Specialist
      • Pharmacy Technician Certificate
      • Medical Assistant - Certificate
      • Medical Assistant - Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ph.D. in Literacy
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Science in Taxation
      • Master of Science in Library and Information Science
      • Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Academic Librarianship
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor - Management - Criminal Justice
      • Doctorate: Computer Science
      • Doctorate - Computer Science: Information Assurance (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management - Graduate Level Instructional Practices
      • Doctorate: C.S. - Enterprise Information Systems
      • Doctorate: Management - Organizational Development and Change
    Master's
      • Master of Science in Computer Science
      • Master: Computer Science - Database Systems
      • Master of Business Admin
      • Master of Business Admin - Entrepreneurship
      • MS - Computer Science - Computer Systems Security
      • M.S. - Information Technology
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Psychology
      • BS - Criminal Justice
      • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior
      • B.S. - Psychology - Consumer Behavior
      • BS - Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
      • BS - IT - Web Development
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Health Care Quality
  • Masters in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
  • Graduate Certificate in Multimedia Development

What is your highest level of education?

George Mason University

  • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Graduate Certificate in Agile Project Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Analytics and Management

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MSCJ: Law
  • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Psychology

Which subject are you interested in?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
  • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management

What is your highest level of education?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Certificate in Government Analytics
  • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Research for Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Brightwood College

  • Medical Assistant - AS
  • Computer Networking Technology
  • Dental Assistant

What is your highest level of education?