9 Ways to Prepare for College Apps


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Seven Clark

If you’re like me, you’re one month into being a senior, yet you’ve waited so long to start the application process that you’re now rushing to get everything done. It could be because of procrastination, but in my case, I just didn’t know where to start. With information about the process scattered across several websites, it’s hard to catch up to people that had a head start. Here’s 9 things to do in order to catch up for seniors, and for juniors and underclassmen to get a headstart:


  • Attend a college preparation-focused club

These kinds of clubs will help give you more information about what you need to do to prepare for college applications. Courtney Dillon ‘21, co-president of College Bound says last year they focused more on test prep, but at the beginning of this year the focus will be college applications. She explains, “We will all give feedback on each others’ personal statements and other essays as well as be there if anyone has any questions.” She and many others in her club will be first generation college students, so there will be plenty of support for college applicants of any kind.


  • Research colleges of interest and make a spreadsheet of information about them.

The best time to do this is when colleges come to Whitney to talk about their school. Make sure to check counselor emails, which will let you know when these colleges will come. Attending the college fair will also help with this, as you can ask more questions. There are easy-to-access spreadsheet templates online, but some things to consider are: cost, how much will financial aid pay, what scholarships the school provides, average SAT score, average GPA, and when application due dates are.


Common App is an organization that helps you prepare an application and apply to colleges. All you need to do is fill out the information on your profile, and write your essay based off of the prompts. Some colleges require a separate essay based off of a prompt they give, so make sure you find out what the application requirements are for your colleges of interest. Lillian Leon ‘21 has been using Common App to apply to colleges. She says, “I utilized Common App to apply for college by making one definitive application for which I was able to send to multiple colleges, without repeating information over and over again.” It’s a very convenient way to apply, because all of the applications are in the same place, and the majority of the information the colleges are interested in is filled out from the information on your profile.


  • Look for scholarships

Counselors send emails about scholarships that are available to us very often, so watch out for their emails if you are interested in scholarships. Another place to look is Fastweb.com, which lets you fill out information about yourself, and it will let you know about scholarships you could apply for.


  • Complete survey on Naviance for the counselor letter of recommendation

Go to Student.naviance.com, click the “About Me” dropdown, click “My Surveys”, and then look for the survey that says “Student Profile for Counselors.” Here, you can answer questions to help counselors write a letter of recommendation for you. 


  • Complete the survey on Naviance for the teacher letter of recommendation

Also on Naviance is a survey called “Teacher Profile,” which lets you fill out information to help a teacher write a letter of recommendation for you.


This playlist guides you through the college essay process, what to write about, picking a topic, common essay prompts, and etc. Mrs. Pasulka is also available in the writing center if you have more questions about writing college essays.


  • Fill out FAFSA

FAFSA is federal student aid, and must be submitted as soon as possible in order to be considered for financial aid programs that colleges administer. There is also a federal deadline, which, for the 2020-2021 academic year is June 30, 2021.


  • Don’t be afraid to ask teachers, friends, or family for help!

Even if you will be a first-generation college student when you go to college, there are plenty of people around you who can help with the college application process. Mr. Rehak, an English teacher at Whitney Young, advises, “Ask Mrs. Pasulka for more help with college applications.” Teachers, friends, and counselors are all available to help you, and offer advice. Don’t be afraid to ask!


Hopefully this information can help you get a good idea of what needs to be done for college applications. The process is a pretty daunting task, but with support from the people around you, it can be made easier. Good luck!