College Application Process
In August before school starts, the WBHS Counseling Department hosts a College Application Boot Camp for seniors. This is an excellent way to get a jump start on the 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. Some students feel 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.) If you are interested in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, be sure to check out the Common Black College Application.
Most colleges will allow you to share 10 of your most important extracurriculars - clubs, sports, volunteerism, and work experience. We suggest you create a resume to make this process easier. Check out this article by the College Essay Guy for samples of how to describe your activities.
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. This will empower you and generate energy to fill out the others.
2. Write the admissions essay if necessary.
Some colleges will require you to provide an admissions essay. 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." The College and Career Center has essay writing books you can check out to support your writing. You can also meet with your counselor or the College and Career Counselor to seek assistance with essays.
3. Send your transcripts.
WBHS sends all of our transcripts via Parchment.com. Creating an account is simple and fast! Parchment will also be used for midyear reports and sending final transcripts upon graduation.
- Go to www.parchment.com and click on “sign up.”
- 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 student email address!
- After clicking “continue,” you will enter your grade level, date of birth, and create a username.
- 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.
- Agree to the terms of service, and hit “save.”
- Identify your current high school to complete your profile.
Send a Transcript to Yourself:
- It is YOUR responsibility to carefully review your transcript prior to sending it to a college.
- 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:
- Click on the “My Transcripts” tab in the upper left corner.
- Select your “Destination Type.” This is where you select a college, the NCAA, or the Common App. Enter a specific university here.
- Order your current transcript.
- You will be given a tracking ID number that shows your transcript was delivered to that school.
- 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 www.parchment.com 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. Since COVID, many colleges have gone test optional meaning you can decide if you would like them to use your test score when making an admissions decision. Most colleges will accept either the ACT or SAT. Some colleges will “super score” - meaning they will take the highest sections within the sub scores 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. Every college is different so check their websites carefully. To determine if you should send your scores, check out the Common Data Set for the college and see where your scores fall compared to last year's incoming class. If your scores do not fall within this range, take advantage of test optional.
4.GATHER SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS (IF REQUIRED).
Read the application thoroughly to see if additional materials are necessary. Supplemental materials may include items like a portfolio of personal work or a supplemental essay. 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 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 college requires. WBHS offers a financial aid workshop 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. Click here for a College Application Checklist created by Mrs. Essig.