Tips for Applying to College and University

Peter Russo
Feb 6, 2019 · 3 min read

As a High School educator, I know how stressful it is for young adults to decide on a future career and the “right” post-secondary institution to help them get there, especially at such a young age! I hope this blog will give students and even those in the workforce looking to go back to school, a peace of mind as they navigate this exciting time.

College applications can be a difficult, confusing process. With thousands of people applying to each college, they can only accept so many, so you have to really stand out. There are many resources out there to help you make a good impression, but for now, let’s focus on the nuts and bolts of the application process. Here are some tips for applying to the college or university of your choice.

Submitting Your Application

Let’s start with the basics. When you decide on the colleges you want to apply for, start early. Find out the early submission dates and apply then. Those entries get automatic priority, so it will help you stand out. Conversely, late applications get last priority, so if they have a limit on the number of students that can apply, you might not make it. Once you send in your application, confirm that the school received it. For mailed applications, you can use things like certified mail to get a receipt when your package is delivered. If it’s online, look for a confirmation email from the school. Lastly, whatever you send to the school, make copies of it. You should always have your own copy of your complete application on hand, in case they lose something, or have a filing issue later.

Visiting Campus

If you can, visit the campuses of the schools you are applying for. School administrators often make note of applicants who visit. It shows that you’re interested and have the initiative to come to them. Also, this allows you to speak with their academic advisors. These advisors are there specifically to help you get into their school, so you’ll get great advice from them. Plus, there’s no better way to gauge if a school is really right for you, than to see it for yourself.


Scholarships are an important, but often tricky, part of getting to college. There are so many scholarships to choose from, with many requirements to fulfill. The thing to remember is to constantly apply. You can start while in high school and continue while in college. Another thing to keep in mind is some colleges provide free or decreased tuition. These come with a lot of parameters, like your current income; but some offer programs where you work for the school up to 30–40 hours a week and get free tuition. These programs have helped many students get through school.

Online Presence

In the world of internet connectivity and social media, online presence has become an important part of applying for college. Admissions officers will look for you online, to see whether or not you’ll best represent their school. They’re not going to do a deep-dive of your online life, but it would be good to clean up your profiles. Present yourself as well and professionally as you can; at least while you’re applying. Repost any special accomplishments you may want them to make note of; especially if it features you in leadership roles, or participating in community service.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store