A guide to college apps and scholarships

Tommy McEvilly, Staff Writer

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When you’re a high school student getting ready for college, it’s very easy to feel like you’re stuck in the middle of the sea; struggling against the waves of daunting SAT and ACT tests, the time-consuming applications and the financial burden that comes with furthering your education. Along with all of these intimidating challenges, you may feel lost because you are unsure of how to even start the college application process, but worry no longer because here is your comprehensive guide of how to prepare for the future of your academic career!

The Common Application – The Common Application, more commonly referred to as the Common App, is a nifty little website/program that enables the college application process to be as easy as possible. After creating an account and logging in, Common App allows for you to browse and select from over 700 colleges in 20 countries. Upon selecting a list of universities that interest you, the website allows for you to see the requirements and view additional information about that specific college. Common App also provides a link to the admissions page of the college that you may be interested in. To view the Common App for yourself and set up an account, visit https://www.commonapp.org/

Financial Aid – If you’re concerned with the financial aspect that comes with applying and getting into college, there is a wide variety of options to significantly ease your worries. Most colleges have a fee that comes with their applications, and with these fees being about $40-50 per school, the money can build up quickly. While this may cause concern, colleges are willing to wave the fee if need be. Additionally, once you have been accepted into your college and officially register, the FAFSA may become your closest friend. The FAFSA must be resubmitted for every year that you are in attendance of your college, but it can provide you with much needed financial aid. To learn more about your eligibility for the FAFSA, visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/.

The Common App also has a page worth of financial aid resources to find out your other options.

Scholarships – Scholarships, another form of financial aid, may take some time to fill out, but they can be well worth your time! There are many different types of scholarships available to students including merit, athletic, minority, etc. Since there is such a wide variety of scholarship options,  many students are eligible to apply for scholarships. Some extremely coveted and popular scholarships, such as the Lilly and the Wells, may have fierce competition, but they also provide the recipients with wonderful opportunities and aid. When it comes to local scholarships that can be earned through your high school or community, the best place to look would be the counseling office. Sign up to talk to your counselor and ask about any and all opportunities that may apply to you.  There are several websites and resources to gain more information about scholarships including the school counselors, https://www.unigo.com/ and https://www.mccsc.edu/scholarships.

For those students currently applying for the Wells, the deadline is September 7.

When it comes down to it, the best thing that you can do as you’re preparing for the rest of your academic career is to gain information about the application process, learn about opportunities available to you and get to know your counselor. Your counselor has a great deal of knowledge on the college process and is there to ensure that you succeed to the best of your ability. The process of applying for college may be one that seems incredibly long and tiring, but there are many resources available to smooth the process as you get ready to embark on a new chapter of your life.