College application guide

Elizabeth Allen, Staff Writer

If you’re looking to apply to college in the near future, this is the guide for you. Get the basic college application run-down and explanation here, question-and-answer style.

Q: What is a college application and what do I need to put in it? 

A: A college application is an amalgamation of your basic info, clubs and extracurriculars, your high school transcript, a completed FAFSA, your entrance essay, recommendation letters (if needed), and test scores from the SAT or ACT if you’ve taken those tests. Additionally, if you’re applying to an art school, you will need a portfolio of your artwork–if you’re applying to a performing arts school, you will need to do an audition.

Q: How do I obtain my test scores and high school transcript?

A: You can get your SAT and ACT scores from the College Board and can even choose to send your scores directly to your selected colleges from the website. However, please note that if you didn’t select colleges to send your scores to before you took the test, you will have to pay a fee. You can order your high school transcript from and send it to your selected colleges.

Q: Will I need to write an admission essay?

A: It depends on the school. For example, IU requires one, Purdue does not. Common App also provides common essay prompts that you can attach to your application. The best way to find out is to look at your selected colleges’ websites.

Q: What is Common App?

A: Common App is an organization and website that helps you create your college application, and you can attach your Common App to almost all college applications. If you are going to use Common App, it’s best to start compiling your information on the website as soon as possible. It’s also important to consider that some colleges have specific applications for their school, and some also have Common App–if you are applying to a few different colleges, as long as they accept Common App, it may be easier to make an application there and send it to each school.

Q: When do I need to submit my application?

A: Typically, colleges have an early non-binding application in November; for example, IU has an early action deadline for November first. When applying to colleges, it’s important to differentiate between early action and early decision; early action is non-binding, and you can apply to multiple schools through it. Early decision is binding, and you can only apply this to one school, one that you are certain you will attend. Another important thing to note is that if you apply before November first, you will be considered for more scholarships.

Q: What is FAFSA and how do I apply for it?

A: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a financial aid program that all students entering college should consider. BHSS hosts a financial aid night typically in October, and you can find more information on the FAFSA website. FAFSA can be applied for online.

If you have any more questions, you can ask your counselor. Whoever that is will meet with you in September in order to discuss your college application.