Choose at least three and up to six or more colleges to apply to. Even if you have a favorite, make a list of several schools you’ll almost definitely be accepted by, a couple of schools you have a good chance of being accepted by, and a couple of schools that might be a reach but you’re hoping to be accepted by. This way, you’ll have options when you make your decision
Get organized. It’s hard to keep all the information about financial aid, programs, courses and housing about each school in your head. So, don’t. Instead, create a folder for each school you plan to apply to. In the folder, you can store admissions information and applications materials to easily reference and compare.
Know the application requirements. Some schools require more than transcripts and test scores. You may need to write a personal essay or include some other writing or portfolio sample, and you might need references from teachers or staff at your school.
Need a recommendation? Some colleges and scholarship applications ask that students submit letters of recommendation from adults close to you who have been involved in your schoolwork or extracurriculars, like teachers, school counselors, adult club sponsors, or coaches who will be willing to say good things about your abilities or work ethic.
Always give the person who is asked to write a letter of recommendation plenty of time—at least two weeks is a reasonable time frame. If you are facing a deadline, make sure to communicate the key dates. And remember, always be courteous and express your thanks.
Apply early. Keep a calendar with application deadlines clearly marked. Some schools have strict deadlines for their applications, while others will accept applications year-round. Make sure you know the deadlines for each school you’re applying to, and check to see if there are deadlines you have to apply by in order to qualify for financial aid.