Most colleges require an application as well as supplemental materials from prospective students. The purpose of all of these is to give the admissions office a better idea of who you are and where your strengths lie. Take care, when assembling your application components, to make sure you’re presenting yourself well and accurately—it may make all the difference in where you get accepted. Here are some of the things you may be asked to submit:
- College Application – Each college will usually have its own application form for you to fill out, as well as a fee for submission. (CFNC does not charge colleges or students any fees for application or transcript services.) This form will ask for information about you, your grades, your work and extracurricular experience, as well as your goals and areas of interest. Information about your family and your background may also be required. Most applications can be submitted online.
- Test Scores – Many schools require students to take either the SAT or ACT test and submit their scores. The weight placed on these tests varies between schools, with some having minimum score requirements and others using them only marginally in the decision process. Regardless, it’s a good idea to plan and prepare for these tests well before you apply.
- Transcripts – You will need to send official records of your grades to all the colleges you’re applying to. If you are graduating or have already graduated from a North Carolina public high school, you can send your official high school transcript to any North Carolina college by using the free Application Hub.
- Letters of Recommendation – Personalized letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, or professional contacts can help strengthen your chances of acceptance. Start thinking about whom you can ask for recommendation letters at the beginning of senior year or before.
- Essays – Some colleges ask for essays, others do not require them. The purpose of the college application essay is to showcase your writing skills and to give the college a better idea of who you are and how you formulate ideas. Chances are good that at least one of the colleges you’ll be applying to will ask for an essay, so it’s a good idea to craft your essays carefully and do some research on how admissions officers will be evaluating them.
- Interviews – Interviews are not usually required, but they can be a good way to help you stand out as an applicant. If there’s an opportunity to do an interview as part of the application process, take it. Interviews put a human face on all the information you’ve submitted, and it can help admissions officers or department heads decide if you’ll be a good fit.
- Portfolios – Students going into the visual or performing arts may be asked to submit a portfolio showcasing their work. The school may have very specific requirements about what should (or shouldn’t) be included, so make sure to check. Seek help from teachers in putting this together if you haven’t already assembled one.
- Auditions – Students of the performing arts will usually be required to audition. Work closely with your teachers and mentors to choose what you will perform, and make sure you have plenty of time to prepare. As with the portfolio, audition requirements are often exacting, so make sure you’ve checked these in advance.