Once your child has his or her final, definitive list of schools he or she would like to go to, it's time to apply. He or she should contact the admissions offices for those schools, or go to the schools' website to find out their application policies and procedures.
These days, your child should be able to apply to most schools online instead of with the old-school paper application through the mail. If he or she does end up submitting a paper application, he or she should remember to type everything! Handwritten applications are often tossed to the side because they are too difficult to read.
There will be a list of required documentation to go along with his or her application, such as transcripts, recommendation letter, test score results, and the like. Your child should be sure to read the applications thoroughly and get all the supplemental materials they ask for as early as possible.
The Common Application
Filling out applications for the countless colleges that your child is aiming for can be a painful and repetitive process for your child. If your child is lucky, most of the schools he or she is applying to accept the Common Application. It's a single application for undergraduate college admissions used by a consortium of colleges and universities. There are currently 230 members, both public and private, that agree to give full consideration to applications submitted on this one common form.
Because so many schools participate, the Common Application can simplify the admissions process. Several colleges even use the Common Application website, www.commonapp.org.
There are two different ways of using the form: on paper or online. Using the paper form (available in your child's guidance office or downloading it from www.commonapp.org), your child should complete the Common Application, photocopy it, and send it to any of the member colleges to which he or she wants to apply. Using the electronic version, your child may either submit his or her application via the internet or print it and mail a hard copy.
Remind your child that some colleges require a supplemental form of their own. At www.commonapp.org, he or she can access supplemental forms to complete online and links to downloadable forms on individual college websites.
Did your child pay the application fee online? Make sure he or she remembers to send a check to the college and print out the confirmation for proof of payment!