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How Should I Prepare to Fill out Applications for College?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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As with many tasks, preparing to fill out a college application means gathering relevant information and documents, reading over the application before you begin to enter any data, and asking any questions that come to mind before providing responses to any line item on the application. Fortunately, it is possible to utilize all the same data for multiple applications for college acceptance, meaning most of the preparation can be done once and does not have to be repeated each time. Here is what you should do if you plan to apply to college in the near future.

Your first task is to obtain college applications from all the institutions of higher learning you are interested in attending. By collecting the applications before you ever begin to fill out the first one, you can get a good idea of what type of information and support documents you will need for each one. This allows you to obtain multiple copies of official documents if necessary, saving you a great deal of time once you actually begin to complete the applications for college.

Some of the data you will need to fill out applications for college will already be at your fingertips. Information like your full name, current address, date of birth, and any government issued identification such as a driver’s license or Social Security number will require no real effort to collect. Look over the fields included on each of the university applications and make a list of all information that you already have readily available.

For the second step in your preparation, begin to assemble information regarding your academic achievements. This will include data about the schools you’ve attended, your current grade point average, and your scores on any national education and proficiency exams you’ve taken. You will also want to include data on any awards or honors that relate to your academic career, such as winning first prize at a science fair, participating in a spelling contest or excelling in a club sponsored by your school. Information of this type may take a little time to compile and organize, but the effort will be worth it once you begin to fill out those applications for college.

For your final step, pull together any official documents that must be forwarded along with the completed application or will need to follow upon acceptance. These can include educational transcripts, letters of recommendation from instructors or school counselors, or documents that confirm any continuing education credits you’ve amassed. Make sure you know whether photocopies are acceptable or if you will need originals. This will help you secure everything at one time and be prepared to forward the documents to the college at the right time.

One final suggestion is to obtain more than one copy of each college application. Filling out applications for college will go smoother if you use one copy as a dry run first, then move on to filling out the application that will ultimately be returned to the college or university. If the college does not send more than one application, take the time to make photocopies of each page in the application, and fill those out first.

Set your first draft aside for a day or two, then go back and make any changes or additions you feel are needed to make your application the best it can possibly be. Once you are satisfied with the final draft, copy the responses onto the remaining copy of the application. While somewhat redundant on the surface, this approach can prevent you from making everything from minor errors in spelling and punctuation to leaving out important information that could make the difference between acceptance and rejection.

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