Apply to "Choice" Colleges

Before you start applying to schools, find out the application deadline and fees for each school you are considering.

The application process at each school is unique. You'll find different requirements, prerequisites, and levels of selectivity. Some things remain consistent though, and we have advice to help you through the application process.

Start early.

It takes time to get ACT scores tabulated and sent, and it takes time for school counselors and others providing references to gather information.

Follow the instructions and proofread.

The application form is often an admission committee's first contact with a prospective student. Make a good impression with a neat application free of spelling and grammatical errors.

Work with your high school to send transcripts & test scores.

Go to your school guidance office for help getting all necessary transcripts, records, test scores, and applications sent to prospective schools. If you decide to apply to schools that have not already received your ACT scores, you can ask ACT to send your scores to that college.

Make the most of personal references.

  • Ask people who know you and can support the recommendation well.
  • Prepare a neat and legible reference form.
  • Give your references plenty of time—a school counselor isn't likely to write glowing recommendations for last-minute requests! Allow at least two weeks before application deadlines.

Write an outstanding essay.

Most college applications require an essay, so spend time crafting a good one. A great essay probably won't get you into college if you don't meet the other academic requirements. But if a student is a "possible admit"— one of the "maybes" the college may admit—it can move him or her higher up on the list.

Be ready to interview, audition, or submit a portfolio.

Some colleges also require a personal interview or examples of work in special areas such as art or music.

Keep a copy of all your application materials.

A prerequisite is a course that must be taken before enrollment in another related course. (Example: French 1 is a prerequisite for French 2.)

A transcript is the official record of high school or college courses and grades, generally required as part of the college application.