College Application Process

Applying to college can feel like a full-time job, especially if you’re applying to colleges with different admissions requirements. You should always check with the colleges you are applying to, but typically the basics are similar. Make sure you check each college carefully for their requirements.

1. Fill out the application.

As part of the admissions process, you’ll be required to fill out an online application, which will include personal information about yourself and your high school career, like extracurricular activities you participated in.  Most colleges will have an online application for you to fill out. Some will require you to use the Common Application or Coalition Application in order to apply. Many colleges will give you a choice between the online application or the Common App. Our experience is that the online application is typically easier..  However, if one of your colleges requires the Common App, then use it for the rest of your applications (if applicable.)

You do not have to wait to send all of your applications at one time.  We encourage you to fill out the easiest ones first and get them off your plate.

2. Write the admissions essay if necessary.

Some colleges will require you to provide an admissions essay.  Many colleges, however, do not have this requirement.  If required, the school will typically provide a number of prompts for you to choose from. In some cases, you may be able to choose your own topic. Be sure to proofread your college admissions essay carefully.  Colleges tell us that it's important that your essay be your authentic story.  Don't over edit your essay so much that it's "not you."   

3. Send your transcripts.

WBHS sends all of our transcripts via  Creating an account is simple and fast!   Parchment will also be used for midyear reports and sending final transcripts upon graduation.

1.     Go to and click on “sign up.”

2.     You will be asked to create a password, provide a username, answer security questions, and check the box indicating that you are a student making your own account. DO NOT USE your WBHS student email address!

3.     After clicking “continue,” you will enter your grade level, date of birth, gender, and create a username.

4.     You will be given the opportunity to release information about yourself to colleges and sign up for special offers and opportunities.  We typically suggest you select “no” so you avoid the spam in your email.

5.     Agree to the terms of service, and hit “save.”

6.     Identify WBHS as your current high school to complete your profile.

Send a Transcript to Yourself:

1.     It is YOUR responsibility to carefully review your transcript prior to sending it to a college.

2.     Students should “Send a Transcript to Myself” in Parchment and carefully review the transcript after the end of each semester for accuracy.

To Send a Transcript:

1.     Click on the “My Transcripts” tab in the upper left corner.

2.     Select your “Destination Type.” This is where you select a college, the NCAA, or the Common App.  Enter a specific university here.

3.     Order your current transcript.

4.     You will be given a tracking ID number that shows your transcript was delivered to that school.

5.     You will receive emails confirming that your request was made, that it was approved, and a date and time that it was sent.

There are numerous videos and tutorials on if you have any technical questions or need assistance.

 WBHS Tip:  Parchment has a college search engine.  You DO NOT need to answer these questions.  You can skip over these steps. See your counselor or Mrs. Essig for help if you need it!

3. Send standardized test scores (if required).

Check to see what test scores are required for the colleges in which you apply.  Most colleges will accept either the ACT or SAT. Some colleges will “super score” - meaning they will take the highest sections within the subscores of the tests.  Additionally, some colleges now allow students to self report their ACT/SAT scores which means you only have to send the ACT/SAT transcript once you’ve been admitted and decide to attend.  

Lastly, some highly selective colleges also require SAT Subject area tests.  Please see the College Board website for dates and test options. 


Supplemental materials may include items like a portfolio of personal work or a supplemental essay. In some cases, supplemental materials can help your application, but in other cases they can hurt your chances of admission. Be sure to carefully consider whether the supplemental materials or supplemental essays are a good idea for your application.

Some colleges also require recommendation letters. These usually can come from teachers who are familiar with your work. Some students may also get recommendations from coaches, church leaders, community service organizers, or other adults who can attest to the student’s skills and work ethic. Please be sure to ask your recommenders early and send them a thank you card when completed.  Note: Most colleges do NOT require a letter of recommendation… only ask for one if you need it!

5. Interview for admission (if necessary).

A student interview may be required in some cases, but usually for undergraduate admission this is not the case. Still, some schools will be willing to schedule a student admissions interview upon request.

6. FIll out the FAFSA (and CSS Profile if necessary). 

After October 1st of your senior year, you should fill out the FAFSA to see if you qualify for financial aid from the college/university.  Some colleges require an additional form called the CSS Profile. Be sure you check to see what the colleges require. WBHS offers a financial aid worksop in the fall to assist families who need help filling out the forms.  Be sure you read the Counselor Connection for dates.

7. Make a List and Check It Twice!

Check and double-check that you complete all of the application requirements specific to your school and your situation.  This process can be frustrating because every college can set their own requirements. Create a list and make sure you have met the requirements.  Check out his College Application Checklist below.




Date Completed

Make an appropriate email address. You will use this to apply & communicate with colleges.



Compose a list of schools (including an academic and financial safety).



Put application deadlines in calendar and set up a schedule to meet these deadlines.

*Please remember the concept of business days.  Test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendations, and other requests can take several days (even weeks!) to process.



Complete applications.



Complete essays and short answers.  Look over all writing requirements early in the year.  You do not want to be overwhelmed with several essays at the last minute.



Pay fees.



Double check transcript for accuracy and send via Parchment requests are available after September 15th and can take up to 10 school days to process.  If school is closed, Parchment requests are not processed.



Send ACT or SAT scores.



Take other required/recommended tests (e.g., SAT Subject Tests) IF necessary.



Request teacher and counselor recommendation letters (if required by your college).



Check to make sure letters were uploaded to Common Application.



Complete Xello.



Check to make sure everything was received by your college.  It is the responsibility of the student to verify that all application materials have been received at each school, including transcripts and test scores.



Send thank you letters to your teacher and counselor.



Complete FAFSA after October 1st & complete CSS Profile (if required by your school)



Send midyear grades if required.



Check for registration and housing application deadlines.



Deposit at the college of your choice by May 1st.



Let the other colleges know you will not be attending.



Request final transcript in Parchment be sent to your college upon graduation.