Tips for getting into College

Filling out college applications can seem like a challenging process – smart planning for your future takes a lot of prep work.

Getting into schools is very competitive, but there are also more colleges being started every year. The first thing you should know when you begin your college search is that there is likely a school that's a great match for you - you just have to find it. Don’t worry, there are scores of resources available, from the internet to guidebooks and magazines. The key is to broaden your horizons and be aware of all your options.

Finances can certainly play into your college search, so as you're looking, be sure to take your prospective tuition into account. State schools often offer a large discount to in-state residents, Attending a community college for a year before transferring to a four-year institution can certainly help reduce the early costs of education and allow you to satisfy prerequisite credits, while letting you work and take care of your family. There are a large number of scholarship opportunities available to every kind of student imaginable.

Once you've found a number of colleges that look promising, start visiting as many as you can. While a cross-country trip isn't always possible, seeing a school's campus can make or break your decision. It also helps your chances of acceptance if you take part in an in-person interview and campus tour with an admissions counselor. If some schools are simply too far away and you don't have the resources to visit, schedule one or two phone interviews and make your name known.

Take the application process seriously and start early. While some schools will only require you to fill out the Common App - a generalized application available online with a selection of essay and short answer questions - other colleges might ask for more information or pose somewhat surprising questions. You might find yourself solving logic puzzles for a fine arts school or telling a technical institute what your favorite band happens to be. The questions may seem weird, but the school is in the same process as you: making sure that you’re a match for each other.

Before you know it, the entire process will be complete and you’ll have found the right school. Sit back, wait and remember: don’t stress - when all is said and done, you'll likely have found the right place to continue your education and improve your future.