A Senior’s Guide to the “College Process”

Alex Abrams, Staff Writer

“The college process.” Three simple words that control the life of every senior in high school. Whether you are struggling in school or are competing for the valedictorian spot in your graduating class, every person must go through this process. It can be a major source of stress, unless you handle it with the right attitude and dedication. For me, a current senior at Wayne Valley, my college process has been completed. Going into the summer of 2019, I was already on top of the game. I was working with college advisors, touring colleges, and working on essays for the inevitable college application. The process was a bit easier for me, because I know what I want to study in college, so this helped me limit my choices of schools to look at. With the right attitude and commitment, my college process was over before the end of September. Now, if you are in my position or are about to submit all of your applications, then you can stop reading at this point. However, if you are a little behind on your college work or haven’t even started working on applications, then the rest of this article should give you the proper motivation to get working.

Before you even start your applications, you should want to know what criteria you are searching for in a college. Do you want a central campus school, small or large, close to home, a flight, sports, etc. By doing this small questionnaire, you then eliminate hundreds of colleges from your list. After this, you should try to see how you can participate and show interest in the colleges you are looking at. Take tours. Respond to emails. Show enthusiasm. Colleges want a student that really fits in with their ideal community. If you don’t show any interest, you put yourself way behind the many students applying to the same college who will show interest. If you know what you want to study in college, or at least have an idea, look at colleges that are known for that major. If you don’t know what you want to do, then find a college that you think you can best fit in with.


After you limit your choices, it is time to start the applications. Before anything, find out if your colleges use the Coalition or the Common Application. These will be the ways through which you will apply to the colleges. You should also figure out when the deadline is for each college that you are applying to. The most important thing is to submit all the required information ON TIME. When you have that information, it is time to set up an account, and answer all of the questions for the colleges. Answers for some application questions can be found on your Naviance account, as well as from your guidance counselor. When you get to the essay portions of the applications, as well as the writing supplements, I would recommend that you use a college adviser. If you don’t, make sure you write information that really makes you stand out. Colleges don’t want to know about generic information. They want to know what REALLY makes you who you are. You will also need letters of recommendation, coming from your guidance counselor and other teachers. Ask the teacher if they would write a recommendation letter for you, and then request a letter of recommendation from that teacher on Naviance. Make sure that you have a fantastic relationship with these teachers, as they are writing about you and expressing who you are to your colleges.


In the end, before anything is submitted, make sure that you re-check EVERYTHING, and that there are no spelling mistakes, or incorrect information. When this is done, and you have re-checked everything, it’s time to finish the college process and submit your applications.


Wayne Valley offers college visits, helpful information for applications, and tips on where you personally should be with your applications. These should ALL be utilized.


Although this seems like a lot of information, when you work hard, it becomes a piece of cake. Don’t stress! You got this!