Stephanie Harrison » Applying to College

Applying to College

Applying for college can be challenging!  Scroll through the information below for tips.
Most applications can be completed online.  You can also use Apply Texas or Common App, which allows you to create one form for multiple applications. Whatever you choose, make sure you have all of the requirements for each specific college.
Fees!  Yep, most applications cost a fee around $60 - $75.  
No matter which test score you need, make sure you know the avenue to send it.  Some colleges require the test organization to send your score directly to the college.  Check each application policy.  
Some colleges are allowing "Test Optional."  Although, this is great news for some, taking the test can put you above other applicants!  Be aware that some scholarships require test scores.
This is the most important component of the application process!  The transcript has every class and grade during your high school career.  Check each application policy to see if they need an official or unofficial transcript.  ALL OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS MUST COME THROUGH THE REGISTRAR!  Check out my Transcript tab on the right side for more information.
Most colleges require a college essay.  This is your chance to stand out from the other applicants.  Visit this College Board Link to find out what admission officers are looking for in a college essay.
Follow these steps to get the perfect letter of recommendation.
1. Fill in your brag sheet for all four years of school
2. Create an academic resume
3. Reach out
  • Read each of your college applications carefully. Schools often ask for letters of recommendation from an academic teacher — sometimes in a specific subject — or a school counselor or both.
  • Ask a counselor, teachers and your family who they think would make good references.
  • Choose one of your teachers from junior year or a current teacher who has known you for a while. Colleges want a current perspective on you, so a teacher from several years ago isn't the best choice.
  • Consider asking a teacher who also knows you outside the classroom. For example, a teacher who directed you in a play or advised your debate club can make a great reference.
  • Consider other adults — such as an employer, a coach or an adviser from an activity outside of school — who have a good understanding of you and your strengths.
  • Perhaps most important, pick someone who will be enthusiastic about writing the letter for you.
  • If you’re unsure about asking someone in particular, politely ask if he or she feels comfortable recommending you. That’s a good way to avoid weak letters. (
  • Email each person explaining your need for a recommendation and why. If they don't have an email, type your letter in Word, and print it.
4. Have a deadline

Reach out to the recipient AT LEAST two weeks before you need it. DO NOT ASK FOR A LETTER THE DAY BEFORE YOU NEED IT!!! Be respectful of their time. In your email/letter, make sure you include the date you need the recommendation. I would also send a reminder email a couple of days before it's needed, if you haven't received it yet.


5. Include your academic resume so that they know your accomplishments



Once you have received your recommendation letter, be sure to SEND A HAND-WRITTEN THANK NOTE! Most students skip this step. This small task can really make a difference.