Written by: Phoebe Brown // Sep 20, 2017
Last updated: Oct 26, 2020
If you are embarking on the college admissions process, you may feel a mix of emotions. It’s normal to feel confused, overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. Sometimes, these feelings along with the college application process can cause students to procrastinate on finishing their applications and submitting them. To help you along the path, check out these simple tips on how to stay motivated during the college admissions process.
With so many pieces to keep track of, staying organized is important. Some students find it helpful to make a schedule, so they can check items off as they complete them. Each college has its own admission requirements, deadlines, and important dates. Read each set of admission requirements carefully.
If you’re confused or need help, contact the college’s admissions office and talk to a recruiter. Recruiters are there to answer your questions and guide you through the admissions process.
Here Are Some Questions to Consider:
- Have you talked with your high school counselor and parents about your options?
- Where will you apply?
- Have you visited the campus?
- Have you taken your SAT or ACT?
- What are each college’s required application documents?
- What are each college’s application deadlines?
With everything you have going on in your life, it can feel hard to stay motivated during the college admissions process. School work, extracurricular activities, college campus visits, and college applications will keep you busy. That’s why having a plan and starting your college application process early will help.
Once you know where you will apply, it is time to start filling out applications. Give yourself plenty of time to gather required application documents, fill out the application, and submit it.
Starting your college application process early gives you plenty of time to deal with any issues that may arise, so you can complete the process on time.
Work with Your High School Counselor
Your high school counselor is one of your biggest resources as you start planning for college. Many school counselors have information about colleges, college admissions tests, college prep, and education options.
All colleges have different application requirements, so you may feel confused about what you need to do first. Print out the requirements of each college where you want to apply, and take them to your counselor. Ask your counselor to explain the requirements to you, especially if there’s something you don’t understand.
Your counselor will help with sending your high school transcript to colleges where you apply. In addition, some colleges ask for letters of recommendation from high school counselors.
High school counselors are busy, especially during college application season, so you may need to schedule an appointment. To get the most out of your appointment, be prepared when you meet with your counselor, and start your college application process early.
While your counselor is a great resource and is there to help you, it’s your responsibility to stay on track with your college applications.
Take Your Time
With so many details and college admissions terms to remember, it’s important to take your time while you’re applying. Starting early and taking your time can help you stay calm and focused, so you are less likely to make mistakes. Before you submit your applications to colleges, you need to double check the information you have entered.
What Do You Need to Double Check?
- Your name and date of birth
- Social Security number
- SAT/ ACT scores
- TOEFL/ IELTS scores (if you’re an international student)
- Essays (if required by the college)
- Application fee (or application fee waiver if you have one)
- Letters of recommendation (if required by the college)
- Application and required documents
- Proofread before submitting
While it may seem like a lot of extra work to review your application and application materials one more time before you submit them, it’s very important to do so.
We checked in with our University of South Florida (USF) admissions recruiters, and they said that one of the best things applicants can do is to check for careless spelling and grammatical errors that can make their application look unpolished. Taking just a few extra minutes before submitting can help you catch many avoidable mistakes.
In addition, it’s important for you to complete, review, and submit your application yourself.
Finish Your Application
Now that you’ve stayed organized, started early, worked with your high school guidance counselor, and taken time to review everything, you’re ready to finish your application and submit it.
Many colleges have online applications, but some colleges offer paper applications that you have to mail in. Whether you submit your application online or via the mail, it’s important to finish and submit your application well before the due date. And, make sure you saved copies in case anything happens to your original submission.
For online applications, you only need to submit your application once. Typically, colleges that offer online application submissions will send you a confirmation that they have received your application. If you don’t receive a confirmation after you submit online, contact the school’s admissions office, but don’t submit another application.
For mailed applications, you can request confirmation from the college by asking the U.S. Post Office to do a “return receipt.” You’ll have to fill out a card with your address and the college’s address that will be attached to the envelope. The school will return the “return receipt” card to you once they have received your application. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for the confirmation card to reach you.
You’re Ready to Stay Motivated During the College Admissions Process
Following these simple steps will help you avoid procrastination and stay motived during the college admissions process. At USF, we’re dedicated to student success, and we understand how daunting the admissions process can be for students and their families. Check out other blog articles to help you stay informed on all things admissions.