Wherever you choose to attend college — be it campus-based or online —applying via a college application can be stressful. In fact, it’s pretty normal for college applicants to lose sleep, get headaches, or become overtaxed throughout the process. But asking an admission college adviser for help can be key to your success.
And speaking of the process it can be terribly stressful for new students who are starting an online course or returning students who have been out of school for a time and aren’t sure what to expect when they return to school.
Start by simply relaxing. It’s not easy, but it’s important to keep you calm, cool and collected. Begin by scheduling an appointment with your college-to-be’s admissions counselor. This person can provide valuable insight into the application process for the school, and help you get informed. Here are some questions you should consider asking an admissions adviser:
1. “What do you look for in an applicant?”
This is a basic but important question. All campus-based and online colleges have their own selection criteria, and while they may not be willing to provide a lot of information, you can get a feel for what accomplishments they value. Ask about how it ranks grades, standardized test scores, AP coursework and extracurricular activities, so you can focus on those aspects when you’re filling out forms and essays.
2. “How and when should I apply?”
Knowing how and when to apply is vital information, as most schools don’t accept late or incomplete applications. Be sure to ask what additional submissions are recommended and how they should be delivered to the school, including standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and school transcripts.
3.”What is the average high school GPA of students at your school?”
Understanding how your GPA stacks up against the average student can give you a sense of your chances for admission, but it can also help prepare you for how competitive the academic environment will be when classes start. Even if you are not a high school student, you could learn some valuable information.
4.”What is the average SAT or ACT score of students at your school, and how important are scores?”
As with GPA, average test scores are an indication of admissions criteria and academic competitiveness. Do inquire what standardized tests the school prefers (or requires) and how important these scores are, espevially if you have excellent grades but don’t excel in test taking.
5.”How much does it cost to attend your school?”
Knowing the tuition cost of your chosen school is significant. Be sure to also ask for the other costs of education; additional fees, housing, and other expenses such as books and materials, etc.
6. “Is financial aid available?”
Financial aid can make college possible for some students who otherwise could not attend. Be sure to have your admissions adviser specify which types of aid are available: are they grants? Scholarships? Are there loans, and are they private or federal? How about work-study, or internship opportunities? Learn all you can about how and when to apply to these forms of aid, and make a note to fill out your FAFSA if you haven’t yet.
With an adviser’s help you should be able to tackle applying for college online or at a campus with confidence.