Three Tips to Kick-Start the College Application Process

There's no doubt that college applications are a major source of anxiety for many of today's high schoolers. Often, the fear of producing an imperfect application has students avoiding the task altogether. Add to that the stresses of SAT/ACT exams, their hefty homework loads and the ongoing "extracurricular arms race," and its easy to see why college applications get placed on the back burner far too close to deadline. 

But as it turns out, the key to finishing your college applications is to actually start them in the first place. Hallowell Todaro Center Coach-Therapist Kathryn has laid out her top three tips for completing your college applications, and a recurring theme is to just start—not next week, not tomorrow, but right now. 

Tip #1: Get organized

Gather all the materials you need before starting your application. This includes your getting a copy of your transcript and updating your resume (making a list of the activities, sports, community service and clubs you have participated in). You also need to make sure you have all the due dates written down so that you can then create your own deadlines. This way, you are not scrambling at the last minute to get things done.



> The College Board's application checklist provides a good overview of materials you may need for your application. 



Tip #2: Start early

Remember that applying to college takes a good amount of time, focus and energy. If you can start the application process early (and yes, the common application essay questions for the 2018-19 year are already posted) the better off you will be. Senior year you still have classes, homework and a social life. College applications are an additional item to do, so please don’t overload and overwhelm yourself. Take advantage of the summer break, go outside with a iced lemonade and start brainstorming essay topics.



> The College Board's "Parent Action Plan" lists important deadlines and suggests when to get started on different tasks. It's written for parents, but useful for students too!



Tip #3: “Optional” means you should really consider doing it

Even though college applications say that certain sections or items are optional, really think about taking the time to write that optional piece or provide that optional information. Who knows, this optional piece may be what sets you apart from everyone else.



> The Common App website explains the difference between Required, Conditional and Optional portions of college applications here. 



Kathryn Korch, M.Ed.,NCC, LMHCA works as a school counselor and as a Coach/Therapist at the Hallowell Todaro ADHD Center. She will be leading a week-long college applications workshop this summer, July 23 to 27.

Read more about the workshop and sign up!