How to Navigate the College Application Process

If you are a junior in HS with plans to continue onto college after graduation, figuring out which school is right for you, completing numerous applications, and making a final decision can be overwhelming. Here are some recommendations from Boston College sophomore and 2015 CB East graduate Adrianna Vernace that are sure to make this task less daunting.

Similar to your everyday schoolwork, it is most important to never fall behind with your college applications. The best way to do this is to do your research. I know – research, especially outside the school hours, may be the last thing you want to do, but you definitely have to make it a priority. There are so many schools out there, so before starting the process, it’s important to know what you like and what you don’t. When applying to schools, think about location, school size, distance from home, academic prestige, sports divisions, classes that match your intended major, and extracurricular activities.

If possible, I would also suggest visiting and touring schools that catch your interest. You don’t need to tour every single college before you apply, but sometimes it’s worth the visit. It’s possible that your dream school on paper is nothing like the dream school you had in mind when visiting, and it could also save you the $80 application fee. Having a clear mind of what type of school you want can really help you choose the school that is best for you and make the process a whole lot easier!

Once you have narrowed your search down to the names of colleges to which you want to apply, thoroughly research (yes, more research!) all the deadlines of all the supplemental materials each college requires. Each college requires different materials, tests, and recommendations and has their own unique set of deadlines. Make sure you organize your needed materials (résumé, letters of recommendation, common application essay, supplemental essays, test scores, etc.) with sufficient time before it is due. You never want a problem to arise the day before an application is due, so it’s important to have enough time, in case something unexpected occurs.

After all your applications are sent in (some early action, some regular decision), you have some time to relax before you need to make the choice. There is no need to worry too much at this point. Your applications are sent in and everything will end up working out. Another crucial note to remember is that you are the person that will be attending the school that you (and possibly others) choose. While opinions and feedback from your parents, counselors, and friends are important, never settle for choices that you don’t like. Just because most of your friends are going to a particular school, doesn’t mean you should do that as well. You want to pick a school where you can thrive comfortably and succeed for the next four years of your life. Your happiness and contentment at your future school will have a tremendous impact on how well you perform. Once the acceptances start coming in, if you have not already visited the campus, please do so. While some people do begin school without having toured the campus, I highly suggest that you make the trip. Visiting the campus and seeing real students in action can make the difference between accepting or declining your acceptance.

Remember to stay informed, stay organized, and stay positive. Everything will work out in the long run and all your hard work and dedication will be worth it. Good luck and remember that help is always available but only you can make the right decision!

Adrianna Vernace

Center for Psychology and Counseling Intern

CB East graduate currently attending Boston College

College Application Process