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6 tips for producing winning college applications

The college application process can be confusing. There are endless deadlines, and colleges look for different information on their applications.

So, with some help from the College Board, we’re presenting our top six tips for producing quality applications.

1. Start this process now. Start it early. Do not wait until just before a submission deadline to begin your application. You will pay for your procrastination. You will be stressed. Your folks will be stressed. If you wait until the last minute, you could also wind up with applications that don’t even get you into the colleges you’d most like to attend.

2. Know the process. It’s important to understand up front what goes into a college application so you can both stay organized during the busy application months. Although different colleges have different requirements, here’s a typical list.

3. Stay on Track Create a folder for each college your child is applying to. Keep anapplication checklist in the front of the folder so you’ll always know what needs to be done next to complete the application. Print and use this checklist for each application.

4. Research Scholarships  There are many scholarship opportunities available; you just need to know where to look for them. Help your child be prepared for the search by learning the basics of finding scholarships.

5. Meet the Counselor. Learn more about your high school guidance counselor’s role in applying to college.

6. Make a Plan  You can visit Make a Plan on BigFuture™ to create a step-by-step college plan, customized by your answers to five simple questions. A list of tasks and a calendar will keep you on top of application and scholarship deadlines. You may have already created a plan; make sure it’s been updated to include your senior year goals.

Applying to college is a busy and exciting time. Find the answers, support and advice you need at BigFuture. Visit to find a path to college.

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