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The 5 Phases of the College Admissions Process (For High School Students)

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The college admissions process can be overwhelming for you as a high school student trying to navigate the path to higher education. But with proper planning and a well-structured timeline, you can approach this journey confidently, clearly and easily.


Educatly will break down the college admissions process into a comprehensive timeline to guide all students like yourself through each stage from freshman year to senior year. By following this roadmap, you can stay organized, meet deadlines, and maximize your chances of admission to your dream university!


When You're a Freshman

Freshman year is the perfect time to start building a strong foundation for the college admissions process. Focus on academic success by taking challenging courses, developing good study habits, and seeking support from teachers or tutors when needed.


Engage in extracurricular activities that genuinely interest you, as it's the quality, not the quantity, that matters. Begin researching potential colleges, exploring their websites, and attending college fairs or virtual events to gain an understanding of different institutions and their offerings.


As a Sophomore

It's advised to continue focusing on academic excellence and exploring your interests. Take on leadership roles in clubs or organizations, volunteer in your community, and consider pursuing summer programs or internships related to your passions.


Start preparing for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT by taking practice tests and considering test prep resources. Begin building relationships with teachers who could later write strong recommendation letters. Explore college majors and career paths to better understand your academic and professional goals.


Your Junior Year

It's a critical time in the college admissions process. Take challenging courses and excel academically, as colleges will closely review your junior year performance. Register and prepare for standardized tests, and consider taking advanced courses or earning college credits through AP or IB exams. Begin visiting colleges or attending virtual tours to get a firsthand feel for campuses and their academic environments.


Create a list of prospective colleges and research their admissions requirements, deadlines, and financial aid options. Start drafting a resume or activity sheet to showcase your accomplishments and involvement.


When It's Summer Before Senior Year

Use the summer before senior year strategically. Consider participating in pre-college programs, internships, or community service projects related to your intended field of study. Continue researching colleges and finalize your list of schools to which you plan to apply. Begin working on college essays, seeking feedback from teachers, counsellors, or trusted adults.


Prepare for college interviews by practising common interview questions. Create a schedule for standardized test retakes if necessary. Explore scholarship opportunities and financial aid options, and consider meeting with a financial aid advisor to understand the costs and funding resources available.


During Your Senior Year

This year is when the college admissions process shifts into high gear. Finalize your college list and note application deadlines, requirements, and supplemental materials. Request recommendation letters from teachers and provide them with necessary information well in advance. Complete and submit your college applications, ensuring they are error-free and portray your best self.


Apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other required forms. Stay organized by tracking application submissions and financial aid deadlines. If admitted to multiple colleges, carefully evaluate acceptance offers and make a decision by the specified deadline.


With this knowledge in your pocket, you should have little worry. Just follow this well-structured timeline, breaking down the process into manageable steps, and you'll make it safe, sound and ready the other way.


One way to prepare would be to browse through 29,000+ programs all over the world in all degree levels and educate yourself to select carefully and understand the requirements. You can also easily sign up to Educatly and update your profile, and an educational counsellor will contact you as soon as possible to help you choose a program, get admitted to the university, apply for your visa and even find accommodation abroad.


What are you waiting for? Start your journey abroad with Educatly now.

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