Apply to College NOW

High school is full of so many things…dances, sports, involvement with clubs, studying, parties and so on! At the same time, you're dreaming of college and all the new experiences and independence that come with it. Maybe you're already convinced you want to attend a faith-based college or university, but all of that still feels like the distant future. College is actually much closer than you realize! Which is why NOW is a great time to start filling out your college applications! Contrary to what some believe, you don't even need to wait for your senior year to apply.

Maybe you're not ready for that yet, but have you starting making a list of potential colleges? If not, do a bit of research at to see which schools catch your eye. As you make your list, keep in mind your desired major, preferred geographic region and desired cost. Experts recommend you apply to at least five colleges and agree that even applying to eight to ten is within a reasonable range. However, you may still be asking: why jump on the college application process? Here are some reasons:

  • Early admission often leads to early acceptance. Applying to college early (sometime before your senior year or in the fall of your senior year) can increase your odds of acceptance. Some faith-based colleges have something called an early admissions plan (or early action plan). This allows you to apply early and get a head start on planning. It's something worth checking out. Keep in mind that some colleges only allow you to select one school as "early admissions" (this is known as restrictive early admissions or single choice early admissions) but this isn't usually the case. If you're applying for college before your senior year, make sure the admissions department knows when you'll be planning to attend college. Some colleges may offer you an option called delayed enrollment which allows you to essentially save your spot for the future. Talk to the college admissions department and see if this option might be right for you. If planning ahead is important to you, applying early could certainly be to your advantage.
  • You'll be free to move forward with other steps. Once you apply to your top schools you'll be able to focus on other things such as sending in your high school transcripts (your guidance counselor will be able to assist you in this step), and gathering necessary letters of recommendation (usually from a teacher, coach or employer). You'll also want to fill out the FAFSA form (Free Application for Student Aid) which allows you to receive government assistance by way of grants and loans. Students are often overwhelmed with the task of applying for scholarships, but once your applications are submitted, you can turn your efforts to seeking the financial help that is often available to those willing to put in a little time and effort!
  • You'll be able to relax and enjoy the rest of high school! A good slogan when it comes to the entire process of applying to college is: work hard now, play hard later. Procrastination feels good in the moment but never pays off in the long term. The weight of deadlines crunching in on all sides is not much fun. Take initiative and don't put off 'til tomorrow what could be done today! There are wonderful opportunities available to you… so many memories awaiting you (both in college, as well as in your remaining time in high school). Take the plunge and apply NOW! You'll be launching your graduation cap high into the air before you know it. A bit of diligence now will guarantee that day is filled with light-hearted celebration and joy!