College applications crash course

College+applications+crash+course

Shashank Inampudi, Photo Manager

As the leaves turn, the temperature drops, and Halloween starts creeping into our lives, seniors have a new scare to stress about. College Applications are right around the corner. This can be a major source of stress for both students and parents, so it’s important to be proactive when applying.

If planning to apply to Iowa, Iowa State, or the University of Northern Illinois, it’s important to look at the Regents Admission Index (RAI). This index will give a number based on GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and the number of core classes taken. If the RAI is above 245, one is guaranteed admission to all three state schools.

When actually applying to a school, it is important to check whether the school is supported by the Common Application or the Coalition Application. These forms allow one to apply to 4 or 5 colleges with one application, greatly reducing time filling out forms. It is important, however, to check which colleges support each application, as not all colleges use this.

Generally, early applications are due by Nov. 1 and regular applications are due sometime in January. However, many colleges stray significantly from this date, so be sure to double check. If one is applying to a highly selective university, it’s also important to understand the difference between Early Action and Early Decision.  Early Action simply means that one knows early if they are accepted into the college. Early Decision, however, “locks in” a college, and one is legally obligated to attend that college if accepted.

The actual application is only half the battle. Once the application is sent, make sure that recommendations, test scores, and transcript make it to the college. For recommendations, make sure to ask early and make frequent (but polite) visits to remind the recommender. Test scores can be sent directly from the ACT and SAT websites. Finally, PV uses Parchment to manage transcripts, so one will have to make a parchment account in order to send those.

Through all of this, make sure to occasionally step back and take a deep breath. College is important, but not important enough to ruin one’s mental health. Check out this for some fun things to do to keep students’ minds off of College Applications.