College App Guide: 5 Essential Steps to Starting Your College Applications

writing essaySummer is here, and the excitement of a new application season is palpable… at least it is in the Veritas Prep office! Summer is a time to unwind, participate in a fun summer program, and (you guessed it) start working on your college applications. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly where to begin, so use this guide to help you get started on the right foot.

1) Finalize Your School List

This cannot be overstated. The absolute first thing you should do is finalize your school list, as everything else to come is based off of your finalized school list. Have meaningful conversations with family, friends, and an admissions consultant to finalize a school list that is balanced with Reach, Match & Safety schools that you’re excited to attend!

2) Create Application Accounts

Now that you have finalized your school list, it’s time to create application accounts for the schools on your list. Make sure to add the schools on your list to each application system so you can start to review their application requirements. You’ll want to make special note of application deadlines, written requirements and recommendation requirements.

3) Line Up Your Letters of Recommendation

Since your school list is finalized and you have read through the special requirements for each school on your list, you’ll know exactly which teachers to ask for a Letter of Recommendation. Ask these teachers as early as possible to ensure they have the bandwidth to write a stellar letter on your behalf, and even give them your resume and/or overview of involvement so they have something to reference as they write!

4) Create a Strategy to Overcome Perceived Weaknesses

Do a little self-reflection and evaluate your candidacy. Are there any parts of your candidacy that admissions committees may see as a potential weakness? Create a strategy to address it! For instance, have you made a meaningful impact in your local or global community through community service? Admissions committees want to see measurable impact when learning about your community involvement. If your involvement was sporadic or doesn’t lend itself to measurable impact, perhaps your strategy should be to find an opportunity to give back in a meaningful way! A free consultation with Veritas Prep can help identify these areas and set a strategy as well

5) Plan Your Application Narratives

If you’re applying to a balanced school list, it’s possible you’ll be writing at least 10+ essays. You will likely write a Personal Statement, plus school-specific supplemental essays for each of the schools on your list. Each of those essays need to be perfectly tailored to each school, and your demonstrated fit for the school as well. Take a step back and look at all of the prompts you’ll need to respond to, and strategize what you will explore in each narrative. The goal of multiple essays is for you to unveil new aspects of your candidacy as the admissions reader reads through your complete application, so plan accordingly!