The College Application
A college application is an integral portion of the US college admissions system. As a college candidate, you need to submit an application for admission that usually requests personal/family information, academic records, recommendation letters, essays and lists of extra-curricular activities that you have participated in the past. Some colleges and universities require the SAT or ACT, while others make it optional. You will need to send your college application on time, otherwise it may not be considered for the term you’d like to gain admission to.
College application fees fluctuate mostly between $30 and $50 for one school. There are few colleges that do not charge any sort of application fee. Along with your application, you will need to submit official high school transcripts directly through your school. If you are an international student, an official translation of your transcripts is required. Most schools ask for the translator to be approved by the U.S. Embassy of your country of origin. Your high school transcripts must come directly from your school in a sealed envelope, demonstrating it is an official school document.
Fast Track Applications:
For the last two or three years, helped by marketing organizations, colleges have start sending out “fast-track” applications. The most important thing about fast-track applications is that they waive the application fee and quicken up the whole admission procedure. However, there are few experts that do not think very highly of fast-track applications. “Fast-track applications give students an easy way out. Already assured of the admission, they may not research for best colleges, which in turn can have a negative impact on their career,” pointed out Liam Jones of Career Counselor.
Another point of view is that explained in the blog Top-Colleges: “Where students are concerned, the applications help to simplify the process of applying for college. Furthermore, many appreciate having the applications sent to their homes, as it helps provide them with additional information about schools they may have previously known little about. So, as long as they realize that receiving an application is not a guarantee of acceptance and so long as they make sure to explore all of their options in order to find the college that is best for them, it should be a win-win situation for all.” For some students, Fast-Track applications could present an opportunity to enhance their admissions outcome.
Electronic Vs Paper:
Generally speaking, no comparison is made in the college admissions offices between paper and Internet-based applications. Your application is going to get the same treatment irrespective of the transmission medium. However, the most common media used at this point in time is the electronic application. It is automatically received by schools and everyday becomes more user-friendly, while offering enhanced security features. Many business schools, for example, no longer accept paper applications.
Electronic applications have plenty of benefits over the conventional paper college applications. With electronic applications, you just need to submit your information once. This is not the case with paper-based applications, where you might need to fill same details over and over again. Another positive aspect about submitting an electronic application is that you will get a confirmation of your application receipt immediately. You can keep the print out of your application as well. Chances of you missing the deadline are next to impossible when submitting electronically. In paper-based applications, you are banking heavily on FedEx or UPS. Any delay on their part and your application may not reach on time. Beware of two details, though – bottlenecks and application errors. It is not wise to wait until the last minute to hit the “send” button. You might find the system out due to bottlenecks (too many applicants sending their applications at the same time), or unexpected system failures, or any other unpredictable computer/internet malfunction. Also, the system might throw some errors found in the application and might not allow you to submit right then and there. Thus, just to make sure that you will be on time, plan on sending your electronic online application a few days in advance of your deadline.
When dealing with electronic applications, make sure that you save your online work on a regular basis, and even print out your application. You do not want to invest thirty minutes filling out your applications just to lose your broadband connection and have to begin from the scratch once again. It is always possible to print your work, and you should do so in a regular basis. Once your application is fully completed, also make a full printout of the application to ensure it is exactly as you expect it to be. Then send it over. This last printout will serve as backup, in case the university/college has any trouble with the electronic version sent.
The College Common Application:
As evident from the name itself, the Common Application is a uniform application that is accepted by over 350 colleges across the U.S. The main advantage of Common Application is that it motivates students to apply to a larger number of schools as it cuts the time we were required to fill out application forms. With more students applying, competition level also increases. With many students applying to schools not requiring supplemental essays, the common app allows you to develop two essays (one short and one long) to submit to all schools. This format simplifies the application procedure, enabling students to apply to schools that might not have been an option in the past but due to the ease of the application process, suddenly become one.
When applying for a college that accepts both the Common Application and school-specific application be clear in your objective. First and foremost, ask yourself do you really want to attend this college. If the answer is yes, go ahead and apply confidently. On the other hand, if your answer is no, look out for other options, after all it is a matter of your career. Sending out a school application just because it is easily done through the CommonApp, when you really are not interested in attending the school, is not the best choice. For academic purposes, it is of paramount importance that you choose your college wisely; application ease is not a good criteria to send out your application.
Also available as a competitor and very similarly to the CommonApp is the Universal App. With less school choices, this application is also common to a number of schools, having the same effect as the CommonApp in the student application process.
Whatever your choice is, Electronic Applications, the CommonApp, the Universal App, paper-based applications, or fast-track applications, devote ample time to work on this important part of your college admissions process. What you invest in submitting all your information in a well-though and truthful manner, can have great return when considering admissions outcome. Get ready to work hard to get into college, and the reward will make your hard work worth your while.
If you have carefully researched and visited a variety of colleges, chances are that one of the schools is moving into the ‘favorite’ place on your list. Now is the time to decide on an appropriate admission plan to follow. Basically, there are four options: Early Decision, Early Action, Rolling Admission and Regular Admission. Not all colleges offer the same options. Is it the student’s responsibility to find out which admission plans are offered at the school of their choices.
Under this option, students are required to submit a completed application to the college in early Fall, usually by November 1st or November 15th. Students are guaranteed a decision by mid to late December. When students apply under the early decision plan, they, along with their parents and the counselor, sign an agreement form indicating that, if accepted to the college, they will attend. Further, all other applications to other colleges must be withdrawn. Early decision is binding and only one early decision application may be submitted.
One advantage of the early decision plan is that, if accepted, a student need not apply to any other schools and saves considerable money in application fees. But this plan should only be used by those students whose backgrounds approximate the acceptance profile of their choice school and who are very certain about their desire to attend that school.
Early Action is another option for students in college admission. Early Action is not binding. Students may usually apply to several colleges under this plan and, if accepted, are not committed to attend. It is the responsibility of the student to check on any restrictions a particular college may have about applying to other schools under the Early Action plan. The deadline dates approximate those of Early Decisions, but again, students should be clear about this.
Under both the Early Decision and the Early Action plans, students are largely judged on the basis of their cumulative record through junior year, although sometimes first marking period senior grades may be requested, if available, by the admission committee.
Students are advised to consult with their counselor as to whether or not one of the early plan options is advisable for them.
Under the Rolling Admission options, a student’s application is processed and reviewed as soon as it is received, providing all parts of the application are complete. Decisions are continually made and students are notified when this is done. There is no binding agreement under the Rolling Admission option.
Regular Admission constitutes the most traditional form of college admission plans. Applications are usually due any time between December and mid-February, although some schools may take applications until May. Students are generally notified in either late March or early April about their admission status. If a student accepts an offer of admission, a deposit will need to be mailed in to the college by designated date. May 1st is the national candidate reply date.