Preparing for college applications


McKenzie Alley

RCHS student explores Transfer Virginia

McKenzie Alley, Reporter

College application season has just begun. Although it may seem stressful, a well organized and genuine application goes a long way.

Firstly, do not procrastinate! Procrastinating can easily be the most difficult struggle when starting to apply. However, getting an early start makes a great first impression for colleges and helps personal organization. Many and most colleges will require teacher recommendations, so ask teachers as soon as possible, so they can have sufficient time to prepare.

Secondly, stay organized. Before you start applying, decide which colleges you are interested in. Then, in any formatting that is helpful for you, create a chart that describes what each college needs from applicants. This can include teacher recommendations, SAT scores, and deadline dates. “I put all of the colleges into a folder on my computer,” said Gianna McKeeman. “It has all of the colleges and their application websites. I also keep my personal essay on a google doc so it can’t be erased.” 

To help with organization, Common Application is an online website that helps students with undergraduate college applications. Most colleges prefer the use of Common App when submitting applications and some, like Virginia Tech, exclusively prefer Common App

A similar organization that guides students’ college exploration is Transfer Virginia. The tool helps any Virginia resident to attend a community college for two years and then guarantees them acceptance with any major university. For example, a student may attend Blue Ridge Community College for two years, graduate, and then through Transfer Virginia, attend the University of Virginia. 

The Brag Sheet (link) is also another very helpful tool when beginning applications. The counseling department has provided a directed guide to help your teachers when writing your recommendations. The “Brag Sheet” includes questions about your future goals and any accomplishments that you’re proud of. 

“You’re the one who knows,” Mrs. vanRavenswaay said. “It is not meant to be monumental. Just take about 30 minutes.” (The Brag Sheet is linked above)

On Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. the RCHS counseling department is hosting an event for Juniors, Seniors, and their parents. This event will be dedicated to information on college’s expectations and how to stay prepared. If there are any questions concerning your college future, bring them to this event. Concerning the FAFSA, the department will host an informational presentation for later in the year when it opens.