Some College Application Basics

Applying to college can be intimidating. But the process can be easier if you have someone to help you through it. Therefore, I want to provide some insight from what I experienced that might be useful. Here are some of the formals that are used during this time:

ACT or SAT

To gain admission into colleges/universities, you are required to take a standardized test; there is no option. However, there is an option as to which test you would like to take. You can pick between the ACT and the SAT. Most high schools provide one of these exams to their students in the 11th grade for free. Therefore, I recommend studying a lot for this session because, after that, you can retake it, but you will have to pay for it, and of course, there are waivers if needed.

All things ACT

–    Costs with no essay $46.00 and $62.50 with essay costs

–    4 mandatory multiple-choice sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) and 1 optional essay section (a lot of colleges/universities require this section)

–     2 hours and 55 minutes with no essay and 3 hours and 35 minutes with essay

–    Scoring scale: 10-36

–    Offered in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July

–    Where to register: http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/registration.html

All things SAT

–    Costs with no essay $49.50 and $64.50 with essay costs

–    3 mandatory multiple-choice sections (Math, Reading, Writing) and 1 optional essay section

–    3 hours with no essay and 3 hours and 50 minutes with essay

–    Scoring scale: 400-1600

–    Offered in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June

–    Where to register: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register

COMMON APPLICATION

The Common App is a one-stop-shop for applying to colleges/universities. Most schools use this platform. You will be able to fill out all of your basic information one time and use it for multiple applications. As you add colleges to your dashboard, you will see all the required material for that specific college’s application, such as fees and supplemental material. Each college may have its very own application requirements. Some schools make you submit your basic information with high school transcripts and test scores, some make you submit a personal statement, and some make you submit multiple essays. A personal statement is your personal essay about anything that you want. This essay is one that every school you apply to will see, and for some schools, it may be the only essay they see; therefore, it is vital to make it memorable. Create a Common Application account here: https://apply.commonapp.org/createaccount

FAFSA

My last time doing my FAFSA was October 2019, and it was the happiest day of my life. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and this is used to determine how much financial aid you qualify for. It opens on October 1st every year, and you and your parent have to fill it out every year you are in college. At the end of each application setting, you will be provided with an expected family contribution (EFC). Your college/university will then use this information to come up with a financial aid package for you, which can include grants, loans, and work-study. The earlier you apply for financial aid, the better because most schools funds are a first-come, first-serve basis. Create FAFSA account here: https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch

Alyssa

Author: Alyssa Hopson

Alyssa is a rising senior at The University of National Champions, also known as, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Double majoring in public policy and political science, she is not quite clear what career path she wants to go down in life, but whatever it is she wants it to make her happy. Alyssa enjoys shopping, traveling, and relaxing in her free time! :)

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