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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Top Seven Tips for College Applicants

College+applicants+can+utilize+various+websites+and+strategies+while+applying.+College+Foundation+of+North+Carolina
College applicants can utilize various websites and strategies while applying. College Foundation of North Carolina

Junior and senior years of high school often become stressful for students who plan to go to college. From lengthy applications to intense deadlines, college can turn into a whirlwind of unknowns and worry. However, incoming freshmen have nearly unlimited access to resources for applying to universities all over the world. Here are seven tips for upperclassmen to utilize to make their application process more simple and organized. 

If applying to schools in Texas, apply through ApplyTexas and/or CommonApp
ApplyTexas and Common App both host online applications for public and private schools throughout Texas. The two websites allow applicants to apply to as many universities as they choose using the same form for each application, with a few college-specific questions pertaining to each school. While ApplyTexas and CommonApp are very similar, certain colleges only accept one or the other, while others accept both. CommonApp specifically allows students to apply to over 900 schools across the United States. However, ApplyTexas only is useful for Texas universities. 

Submit ACT and/or SAT scores even if the school does not require it
The ACT and SAT are college-entry exams commonly taken by high school juniors and seniors, used to determine a student’s academic and problem-solving abilities. The ACT measures knowledge students should have already learned in high school and have an understanding of. The SAT poses questions about topics that students might not have learned yet and shows they are capable of learning. In 2023, most colleges don’t require students to submit their standardized test scores. However, most use them to determine the amount of financial aid and scholarships each student receives. This is especially important when applying to highly selective and Ivy-league universities, as they use these tests to pick out top students. 

Make your essay something memorable, not something that you think the college wants to hear. 
College application essays often make or break an individual’s chance of getting into a specific school. Students commonly make the mistake of writing their college application essays based on what they think colleges want to hear. However, college admissions officers want students to write something that resembles who they are as a person, not a version of themselves they think will make them seem more appealing. An example of this could be writing an essay about a life-changing experience, something that makes you who you are, or something you are passionate about. 

Apply to more than just your dream school
Another common mistake made by college applicants is only applying to one or two schools that are their top choices. Although having a top-choice school is important, only thinking about one school could be a waste of time if that school does not accept your application, as it takes time and effort to effectively apply to colleges. College Board, for example, recommends that applicants apply to at least five to eight universities to ensure that each student is accepted into the right school for them. 

Take the allotted college visit days to do tours
Mansfield ISD excuses two days each academic year for juniors and seniors to take college visits. College visits and tours can give students insight into daily life at different universities. It can be very helpful to take advantage of these days and get to know each college better. Often, colleges will have a separate page on their website for both in-person and virtual visits, allowing students to schedule them in advance. 

Make sure the university will take TCC and AP credits from high school
Mansfield ISD offers great opportunities for students in grades 10-12 to earn college hour credits before they graduate high school. Tarrant County College (TCC) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses can be taken to save money and time for students who plan to attend college. However, these credits are not guaranteed to be accepted or credited by certain universities. Most state and public schools in Texas will accept credits earned from a community college or advanced placement class, although many out-of-state and private universities may not accept them due to differences in course content. This information can be found on most universities’ websites under transfer credits or by using a third-party website such as CollegeTransfer. Students should check with their chosen college to ensure that their course credits will be accepted.

Look for out-of-state schools that offer in-state-tuition
Out-of-state universities will often award in-state tuition to applicants from their neighboring states. For applicants from Texas, this means possibly saving thousands of dollars a year by attending a college in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, or Louisiana. Colleges in these states award in-state tuition based on GPA, class rank, and family income level. This can be useful for students who want an out-of-state college experience but do not want to pay the high tuition and fees that come with that.

About the Contributor
Jackson Gourley, Staff Writer
Hi, I’m Jackson. I’m a senior but this is my first year in journalism and I love to travel and discover new music.
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