Start the process – The Forest Scout

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As the fall semester looms for the class of 2023, the phrase “time flies” is finally starting to make sense. As the junior class begins the college application process, many are wondering what to do and what not to do to begin their college search.

The infamous Decision Day filled the halls with shirts and mascots of different colors as the elderly made their final commitments to a school they will attend in the fall.

Their long year of writing, submitting and dreadfully waiting for decisions is over; hence, signifying the beginning for rising old people.

Applying to college can be an extremely daunting process, especially considering how unfamiliar the procedure really is. Since this process is fresh in the minds of the Class of 2022, they have some important advice for those applying to college this coming year.

Although the application is somewhat different for each college you apply to, here are the basics:

  1. Common application
  2. Trial(s)
  3. Transcription
  4. Test results
  5. Teacher Recommendations
  6. Extracurricular

Due to the high level of stress that comes with preparing your entire application, many seniors stress the importance of working ahead.

“Complete your joint candidacy essay before the start of the senior year, to ensure it’s to the best of your abilities,” senior Tricia Gray said.

The fall of the last year is a hectic time for which many should prepare. “Just filling out the family and activities portion over the summer made it a lot less stressful, allowing me to focus on supplements for individual colleges at the start of the school year,” said Lauren Milanak. “Giving yourself enough time to finish is very important.”

Time management is going to be your best friend for relieving stress. “Some colleges have 200-word essays for common application questions, but if you focus, you can usually finish it in 45 minutes,” said Ben Winebrenner, senior.

The essay can be one of the most intimidating parts of the application process, however, it is an aspect that is unique to all other applicants, and should be taken seriously.

“Write an essay that is very personal to you, colleges ask you to stand out. The trial section of the app is an opportunity for you to show your personality,” said senior Luisa Hanse. “So when writing your essay, remember to be yourself and be vulnerable.”

“Finding the right topic or topic for your essay can make it one of the hardest parts to get started,” said Julia Grum, senior. “If you’re struggling to find something to write about, try to have experiences in your life that aren’t particularly ordinary. It could be humorous or emotional, try to find something that would help your essay stand out in a crowd.

During COVID, many schools have given students the option of taking an optional test due to the circumstances of the pandemic. Some colleges have decided to remain test-optional this year, while others have resumed requiring students to submit test scores.

According Fair trymore than ⅗ of colleges and universities remain optional for the coming year 2023.

That being said, students have the choice of submitting their scores based on personal performance or test center availability.

Although there is no penalty for using the optional testing policy, there is no denying that submitting grades can give students an advantage. This is just another aspect of your application that stands out to admissions officers.

“Having the option to take an optional test was a big plus,” said Summer Webb, senior. “You can submit your scores to some colleges and not to others, whichever you think would give you the best presentation at a college.”

Extracurricular and outdoor activities are crucial to making your application. Whether it’s school clubs, sports or work opportunities, it’s important to have a good selection. If you haven’t amassed a solid roster, take advantage of this summer to add to your record.

“If you’re looking for things to do in the summer, look specifically for leadership opportunities,” Abi Gunther said. “It shows that you are able to take initiative and work well when in a position of authority.”

Another aspect to consider when you start building your list of colleges to apply to is whether or not you want to apply Early Decision to a university. Deciding on a college early just means that you are fully committed to attending that university and withdrawing all other applications if they are accepted on your first application.

Deciding on a college early on can increase your chances of getting into a specific university. “If there’s a school you really want to go to, I would recommend making a decision early,” Molly Bondoc said. “It shows the college you really want to go and lets them know they’re your first choice.”

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