Applying to CollegeCollege Application Process
Once you have narrowed down your choices and visited the schools that you're serious about, it's time for the big decision. You should start making this decision at the beginning of your senior year. If you are still having trouble narrowing your choices or are uncertain about a college or two, don't hesitate to visit them again to help you decide if you will apply or not.
You want to narrow your search down to a small number of schools you are very interested in attending. You may apply to as many schools as you like, but it is smart to apply to only a few. Most students will submit applications to 4-6 schools. This does not mean you must send four applications and no more than six, but this is a common, general range. All the schools on your list should be schools you would attend if you were accepted. Every student needs to have a safety school on your list, a school that there is a 99.5% certainty that you will be accepted. Make sure that you have one on your list.
Every school has a deadline for applications. Pay close attention to the application deadlines. These are FIRM dates and cannot be negotiated. If you miss a deadline, you may be out of luck.
Applying online is the preferred method by most colleges. It is much easier for the colleges to receive the information electronically and not have to worry about messy handwriting, information getting lost in the mail, or keeping up with more paper once in their office. Most colleges have their applications online to either download and print or submit electronically. If you are interested in applying to several schools in North Carolina, go to www.cfnc.org and fill out your application. This ONE application can be used at all schools in North Carolina, saving you a lot of extra time. When you apply online make sure that you:
- review the entire application
- note any application and scholarship deadlines
- print off any teacher recommendation forms and counselor/school official report form
All forms should be distributed to the appropriate people at least four weeks before you want them sent. It is also helpful to give the teachers/counselors a deadline by which the letter should be returned.
Each application is slightly different, but there are some tips that apply to all applications.
- Read and follow all directions - It sounds obvious, but it is amazing how many students do not follow directions. Remember that each application is unique. Admission officers often comment that many applications are incomplete because the student forgot something simple like a signature or a unique item such as a recommendation.
- Incomplete applications may not be considered until complete and, if you wait to the last minute, your application might not be considered at all!
- Keep track of deadlines - Know when it is due. Some colleges with multi-part applications have a deadline for the first section and a separate due date for the other parts.
- Organize and distribute all parts of the application - Some applications include separate forms for a counselor or teacher to complete. Make sure you give these forms to the appropriate people well before the filing date (at least four weeks). Teachers and counselors may have many forms to complete, so last minute notifications may be late!
- Give yourself plenty of time - Most students find that filling out the application takes longer than they expected, especially if it includes an essay (or essays). Don't make careless mistakes by rushing through an application at the last minute. If your online application includes an essay, it is recommended that you write out your essay before typing into the application online to ensure form, content, and grammar are correct.
- Give as much information as possible - Don't be shy; be concise, but be complete. List any honors won or offices held, and explain when necessary.
- Be sure to send official copies of your SAT/ACT scores - Most students do this when they register for the tests, but if you have added a new college to your list, be sure they have all your scores. The SAT and ACT scores listed on your transcript are not usually accepted by colleges as "official" records. You must request for your scores to be sent to the appropriate college. It is your responsibility to tell The College Board or ACT to send these reports; you can do this at www.collegeboard.org or www.actstudent.org.
- Print copies of everything you send - Sometimes, admissions offices lose parts of applications or information gets lost in the mail. Prepare for this by making backup copies of applications and calling colleges to ensure your admissions file is complete.
- Be sure to include all necessary payments and signatures - These are the most common omissions on most applications.
- Keep your College Counselor informed! - Your College Counselor will mail her recommendation, when needed, as well as your official transcript and other supporting materials needed. Be sure to give us enough time to process your application. That is why you should turn it in at least four weeks in advance. Also, if the application deadline is during December or early January, be sure to give your application to Student Services prior to the Thanksgiving break. Your counselor wants to know how things are going, where you are in the process, and needs to know your plans so that she can best guide you in this process.
Some schools ask for 1-2 teacher recommendations. No recommendation will earn you admission on its own, but it could give a needed push to borderline students. This year we are asking that you only ask a teacher for a recommendation if the college requires it.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Choose teachers who know you best and/or have seen your effort outside the classroom. Usually, you will want to choose teachers who taught you in 11th or 12th grades. Choose teachers who have seen your best effort, even if you did not receive your best grades in their classes.
- Quality, not quantity - It is better to have one or two strong, revealing recommendations than a stack of letters that really say nothing about you. Only ask for recommendations if they are required by a school.
- Give them plenty of time - When asking someone to write a recommendation, notify them at least four weeks before the application deadline. Not only will this give them time to write the recommendation, it will give them plenty of time to mail it to the requested school.
- Be sure to thank anyone who wrote a recommendation.
***It is the policy of the school that all recommendations are confidential and cannot be released to the student or parent.***
Counselor Reports and Recommendations
In order for all recommendations and reports to be adequately and accurately completed, students must complete and submit an "Activities and Honors" sheet to Mrs. Sarp. This form gives your Counselor vital information on which to write a recommendation and complete Secondary School Reports to help promote the student. When asking your counselor to write you a recommendation, notify her at least four weeks before the application deadline.
Amy Sarp: 11th/12th Grade Counselor
(910)592-2067 ext. 6116
Kristen Lee: 9th/10th Grade Counselor
(910)592-2067 ext. 6138
Jan Faison: Guidance Assistant/Office Manager
(910)592-2067 ext. 6110
Deedra Sherron: NCWise Data Manager
(910)592-2067 ext. 6134
Louie Boykin: 21/22 Credit Coordinator
(910)592-2067 ext. 6115
Kristy Moore: Career Development Coordinator
(910)592-2067 ext. 6117
Renee White: Social Worker
(910)592-2067 ext. 6118
Toni Blount: College Advisor/Scholars Coordinator
(910)592-2067 ext. 6140
ACADEMIC PLANNING ~
- You are expected to be more responsible than ever before and learning to manage your time and keep up with your school work requires strong organizational skills to be successful.
- Know when things are due and be on time with your assignments. This helps you stay on track with your coursework and helps with planning your study time.
- Use a planner to help with managing your projects and time for study.
- Keep notes and old tests and quizzes. These can help you prepare for end-of-course exams, as you may be tested on all the information from the entire semester. If you know where your old notes are, you are that much more prepared.
Do your best in your classes.
- Your freshman year semester grades will appear on your transcript (your permanent academic record) and colleges will see them.
- All your High School grades play a part in college decisions, so what you do today can impact your future. You should be trying to maintain "A" or "B" grades in your classes to give you the best start.
- Your freshman year grades give you your first GPA. All other years are averaged into this year.
- Your freshman grades, especially first semester, play a big part in your course placement for next year.
Ask for help when you need it.
- Ask your teachers for help or clarification if you don't understand a concept in class.
- Go to tutoring after school if you need help in a particular subject.
- Tell your parents that you need help from a tutor or other academic support if you feel like you are falling behind in one or more classes.
- Visit your counselor to brainstorm ideas on time-management and study skills.
Think about the classes you want to take next year.
- Look up those classes in your Course of Studies book to see what the prerequisites were for this year. This gives you some idea of what grade you need to be working towards in your current class to maximize your chances of being recommended for classes of your choice for next year.
Do your best on end-of-course exams.
- Grades on these tests can be worth up to 20% of your semester average grade. Your grade on this test can make a difference in your semester grade.
Research extracurricular activities offered at CHS. You can find some ideas by looking at the "Clubs and Activities" page on our website. Get involved at CHS. School is more fun and you really get to know people at school when you get involved.
Colleges want to see that you have interests and were involved in things you enjoyed. Consistent, quality involvement over a few years in one or two main extracurricular activities is more favorably considered than involvement in a lot of different activities with minimal commitment to try to "look good" to a college. All your extracurricular activities don't have to be school related. Extracurricular activities outside of school activities are also good ways to explore your interests and can be an addition to your resume and college application.
Research opportunities to get involved in your local church or with community organizations.
Have some fun! Attend school sporting events; see a school concert, play, dance recital, etc; go to school dances.
Stop by Student Services and set up an appointment with your Counselor. Your Counselor is a resource for a lot of information about high school and can give you pointers on how to start high school on the right foot. Your counselor can also answer lots of questions you may have about classes, grades, college, careers, and getting involved. Begin to think big picture about college. Ask yourself:
- Would you like a big, medium, small school setting?
- Go to college in-state or out-of state?
- Be in a city, a suburb, a more remote location?
- Be on a coast, in the mountains, in the desert?
- Go where it snows or it's always warm?
- Go to a religious based school or a place with a spiritual life component?
- Do you want to have the chance to play a certain sport or get involved in a certain activity/club?
Interview people in careers that might interest you.
- See if you can visit a workplace or talk to people who are in a career that may be of interest in you. See what they say are the pros and cons of their work and what kind of degree or training they had to have.
Sophomore Year: The Journey Continues...
- Drop in to meet your counselor.
- Visit the Guidance website for upcoming events.
- Continue to work hard in your classes. All semester grades will show up on your transcript and are seen by colleges as well as factoring into your overall GPA.
- Make sure to seek assistance from your teacher or tutor if you feel behind in your classes.
- When it's time for spring registration, make smart choices for classes for your junior year. Talk to your parents and counselor to make sure that your schedule is appropriately challenging, i.e. classes that are right for you.
- Remember to keep in mind extracurricular activities and family obligations when choosing classes - you need to have time for activities, schoolwork, fun and sleep!
- If you were recommended for Honors and AP classes think about which combination of classes you can take and still do well in. A "C" or below in an honors or AP classes does not make sense or look good on a transcript.
- Continue to get involved in extracurricular activities, whether at CHS or outside. Find something you are excited and passionate about.
- Quality over quantity is important when looking at extracurricular activities, you do not have to be involved in ten things half-heartedly but find a couple that you really enjoy and want to continue participating in year after year.
- Consider attending leadership programs that are offered (HOBY) and/or summer camp opportunities.
- VOLUNTEER! Many colleges and scholarships put STRONG EMPHASIS on volunteer hours and community service.
- Talk to adults in your family or school about their college choices.
- Start thinking about what kind of college environment you would like - i.e. small vs. large, cold climate vs. warm climate, rural vs. urban etc.
- If you are interested in any specific schools, visit their website and look at their admission requirements and academic offerings.
- Attend a local college fair and/or visit local college campuses. It is a good time to see what a small school looks like, what a large school looks like, etc. If you are very interested in a particular school, think about visiting and learning more about their academic programs and admission standards
The mission of the Clinton High School Guidance Department is to promote the academic, personal, social, and career development of all students through a comprehensive, student-centered program. We are committed to providing 21st century educational opportunities for all students by collaborating with staff, parents, and community members as we prepare students to become successful, contributing members of a global society. The objectives outlined in the NC DPI Student Services Program function as our guide in program planning.