1. Organize your applications as each state has its own application system and requirements. If you plan on applying to two or more states whose applications are on the common application, we recommend you use the common application to save time. Use this chart to help you get started: State University Application and Essay Chart-All 50 States
2. Keep track of each user name and password you create onto this chart so you can return to each application system easily.
3. Save all emails from colleges into a college application folder on your computer and email server.
4. Bring home a copy of your high school and any college transcripts and make sure they are correct. Use these transcripts to complete applications as the majority of state universities ask you to self report your classes, grades, and AP/honors classes. You cannot afford to make mistakes here as they use your self-reported grades to determine admissions.
5. Send your test scores. The majority of states require the SAT or ACT and require official test scores. Not all require the writing section of the ACT. Most states allow you to submit scores to one central site but make sure as they will not necessarily contact you when you fail to submit scores
6. Develop a stand alone resume of your core activities, employment, service, interests, and more. Highlight leadership and initiative in the resume. Each state has its own way of collecting activity information. Some allow detailed resumes. Some just allow simple lists. Use your resume to help you prioritize and organize your activity presentation and be consistent across states.
7. Before you start writing your essays, please collect the essays you must write and develop a strategic approach. Follow these tips:
- Find ways to use essays more than once as many essay topics overlap.
- Look at the prompts and the word length. Each state collects and enforces essay lengths in different ways: paste, upload, mail.
- Remember, most states universities are large and seek diversity. In your essays, describe how well you work have worked with diverse communities and demonstrate how you will make a difference on each campus.
- Make sure to show, not just tell, your demonstrated leadership and initiative.
- Read the entire prompt and make sure you answer the entire question. Some university essays may want a true conclusion.
8. Make sure to meet all deadlines as top universities are accepting applications earlier and earlier and their deadlines are strict.
9. Keep track of the online systems for notifying you as many will email you or post on their secure serves, their admissions decisions.
10. Consider public colleges in states and locations you may not have considered and more and more states want out of state students. Their education systems are wonderful and less expensive than private colleges.