Five steps to help with the college application


Seniors and their families joined College & Career Specialist Princess Brown during the PTSA sponsored College Boot Camp on Oct.6. She talked about important aspects of applying to college during the pandemic.

Jeannine Lalonde, Associate Dean of Admissions at the University of Virginia, was a special guest speaker and shared some of her experiences during her college admissions process.

Here are five tips Brown offers to make this process easier for seniors:

1 “The FAFSA is not a loan application”
It is an application looked over by the government to determine if students qualify for any type of federal grants. It requires both parent and student to create a FAFSA ID, but the student needs to be the one to complete the FAFSA.

Applying for the FAFSA is completely free. There are, however, organizations that will try to get students to pay them to help do their FAFSA. Do not seek help from these organizations. FCPS has multiple workshops that will offer help, free of charge.

2 “The Common Application allows you to apply to multiple schools with only one application”
Students should be aware of school deadlines when it’s time to start filling out their applications. Not too many schools do rolling admissions, but there are still some that will just continue to accept applications until their class is full.

To apply early decision, students must do enough research to know if they can financially afford the school without any aid.

Only do this if you know that the school fulfills all of your needs. Early Action just means doing the application early and is not binding.

Doing this means students are just ahead of the game and are getting in priority to be considered for more scholarships.

3 “Most schools have gone test optional this year”
Colleges know that students do not have access to testing this year, so many have dropped the SAT and ACT as application requirements. Students should not be going crazy about taking these tests. If it is not possible to take it due to the circumstances, move on!

This is not a major part of the process. There is no need to be stressing to try and take a test for a school that is probably saying it won’t have an effect on the decision process.

4 “All recommendations are positive”
What makes them different are the little anecdotes that come through. Counselors talk about big pictures. Teachers talk more about classroom performance. For AHS, before students ask teachers and counselors for recommendations they need to fill out the brag sheet.

A counselor might have been with a student all four years of their high school career, but that student has probably only talked to them a few times. Therefore, counselors may not know the special qualities that make students who they are, so it is very important to do the brag sheet.

5 “This is where your time management comes into place.”
All students need to turn in their transcript request form thirty days before the college application deadline. This is part of the application packet, so just doing the essay and questions on the Common Application and getting that turned in by the deadline is not enough.

It will not be a complete packet if the school a student is applying to requires an official transcript.