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. 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
    2. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Health Care Quality
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and 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. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Public Administration
      • Master of Business Administration
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      • Master of Business Administration - International Business
      • Master of Education in Teacher Leadership
  • Campus Locations:
    4. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Automotive Technology
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
      • Electrical/Electronics
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    5. Judson University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Online
      • Master of Business Administration Online
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      • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology Online
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      • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration Online
      • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services Online
      • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership Online
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
      • Master of Project Management
      • Master of Finance
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      • BS - Communication
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    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    7. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
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      • MSCJ: Law
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    Bachelor's
      • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
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    Certificate
      • Psychology
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      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
      • Master of Business Administration - International Business (Spanish)
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      • Bachelor of Arts - Business Administration with a concentration in Transportation and Logistics
      • B.A. - Legal Studies
      • B.A. - Psychology
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    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology
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    Certificate
      • Grad Business Certificate - Health Services Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    9. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
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    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management
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    10. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
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      • 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

Featured Schools

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?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Health Care Quality
  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
  • Graduate Certificate in Multimedia Development

What is your highest level of education?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration - Finance

What is your highest level of education completed?

Lincoln Tech

  • Automotive Technology
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Electrical/Electronics

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Judson University

  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Online
  • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology Online
  • Associate of Arts

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • BS - Communication
  • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource 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?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • Bachelor of Arts - Business Administration with a concentration in Transportation and Logistics
  • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology
  • Grad Business Certificate - Health Services Management

What is your highest level of education?