Piece by piece, step by step. Write down your goals and then research colleges. Create a list of six colleges you will apply to, based on whether they’re a good “fit” for your goals and your family’s finances. Thinking about your test scores and personal profile, include a few “safety” schools and one “reach” school.
2. Pay attention to deadlines.
The best-laid plans won’t come to pass if you don’t meet college application and scholarship deadlines. Review the deadlines for each college on your list, as well as scholarship and FAFSA deadlines, then put them on your calendar or smartphone. You can find Indiana college application deadlines at LearnMoreIndiana.org/college.
3. Finish your applications
This is no time to say, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” The earlier you get started, the more stress-free the process will be.
- Prioritize each application by due date.
- Write a resume (get tips at LearnMoreIndiana.org) or make a list of your honors and activities, both in school and in the community.
- Select the counselors and teachers you’d like to write recommendations for you. Make sure to give them plenty of advance notice, as well as the application deadline. It might be helpful to give them a copy of your resume, too.
- If your college application requires an essay, schedule time to write one. Explain to the admissions staff why you’d be a great member of the freshman class. Ask someone to proofread your essay before you send it, and check your application for accuracy.
4. Take the ACT or SAT.
If you haven’t already taken the ACT or SAT, of if you didn’t like your earlier scores, now is the time to take it. You can have your scores sent directly to the colleges you’ve applied to by registering them during the test. You can also send them later via the College Board or ACT websites.
5. Ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Plenty of people have been through this process before and are there to help you. Teachers, college guidance counselors, college financial aid staff and parents are good resources.