college countdown: your college success starts here

Apply to College

Before You Start Applying to Colleges

applying to college

To help make your college application stand out and to make the application process as stress free as possible, you will want to prepare a few things before you start locating and working on your applications.

Finalize Your List of Colleges

Our experts recommend finalizing your list to include four to eight colleges. If you need help finalizing your list, visit our Finalizing Your List resources in the Choosing section.

Decide When You Will Apply

Understand the different types of admission—early, regular, and rolling—and choose the type that is best for you. The timing and policies for early and regular admission are different, so you need to decide beforehand.

Prepare Your Resume

Your resume can help you organize yourself and find focus in your applications, among other things.

Start Thinking About Your Essays

You may be required to write essays for some of your applications. Start thinking about what part of your life or personality you want to use to focus your essays. Check out our Admission Essays resources for help brainstorming, advice on using the same essay for more than one application, and other helpful tips from our experts.