College Applications 101
College Application Basics
Basic InformationBasic, personal information like your name and address. Check out this example of an application form.
High School TranscriptCumulative document with your cumulative GPA and grades from each year of high school. You have to request that your high school sends this to the colleges you’re applying to.
Test ScoresCan include SAT, ACT, AP and IB scores. You will need to send your scores on each of these tests to the schools you apply to.
Immunization InformationVaccination information and verification that can come from your doctor.
FAFSA/Financial AidScholarships awarded by the state or college use the FAFSA. Most private scholarships do not require the FAFSA.
College Application Extras
Extracurricular Activity InformationActivities and organizations that you participate in outside of the classroom. Can include working, or caring for siblings and other family members.
Personal StatementsBrief essays on a topic or question. May be optional depending on the school. Here are some examples for inspiration.
Recommendation LettersLetters written on your behalf by teachers, advisers or counselors.
PortfolioA collection of past work that’s appropriate for the type of school you’re applying to. For example, artists or graphic designers usually have a portfolio of the art or designs they’ve worked on.
Alumni InterviewA conversation with someone who has already graduated from the school you want to attend. Here are some questions to expect.
The Common Application
Used by 800+ colleges and universities
Includes a short answer or essay portion
Personal statement may be required (depending on the school)
Application fees for each college can vary
The Common Black College Application
Accepted by many HBCUs nationwide – all for one application fee
Bachelor’s Degree (B.A. and B.S.)
Used by over 130 schools
Many of the colleges that are members of the Coalition also accept the Common App; make sure to research which of these two options is most appropriate for your list of colleges
Optimizing Your Application
1 week after submission:
Check your personal email and application portal consistently for any urgent messages.
Talk to your school counselor to find out about additional scholarships that may have extended deadlines.
Consider re-taking the ACT. You might qualify for a fee waiver for the retest, and you can share your updated scores with the schools’ admissions offices. A higher score can strengthen your application and increase your odds of receiving scholarships or grants.
2 weeks after submission:
Contact both the admissions office and the financial aid office to confirm that your application was received.
Didn’t get a chance to visit some of the schools you applied to? Contact the admissions offices and set up a campus tour. Depending on the school, you may even be able to sit in on a class or take a housing tour.