College Application Process

  • FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

    When should I start completing the applications?

    How do I begin the College Application process?

    The first step is to organize the college application information. There is so much to keep track of during a relatively short period of time; many students find it helpful to organize the information in chart form. Forming a chart seems time consuming, but it will save time to be able to compare and evaluate information in one place. Here are some items you may want to include in your chart:
    • College Names
    • Designated Major(s)
    • Applications Collected - If applying by hard copy versus on-line
    • On-line Registration - If applying on-line versus hard copy
    • Application Deadline
    • Application Type - Rolling, early decision, early action, or regular deadline
    • Campus Visits - Indicate which colleges you have visited
    • College Entrance Exam Requirements - ACT, SAT-I or SAT-II Subject Tests
    • Official Copies of Scores Requested - All college entrance exam scores appear on the transcript but some colleges want official copies of the scores sent directly from the testing service. Determine which colleges require official copies and consult the registration manual or the testing service web site (SAT, ACT) for the process
    • Recommendations Completed
    • Essays Completed
    • Applications (biographical portion) Completed

    When should I start completing the applications?

    Once you decide on your college choices, you can start completing the applications. Review the applications and prioritize which application needs to be completed first. Examine the essays. Most of the time, a similar essay is seen on multiple applications. Determine how many essays in total you need to write by recycling essays.

    Is it beneficial to apply early decision or early action?

    Early decision is good to pursue if you have one college in particular that stands far apart from your other choices. If you are accepted, applying early decision allows you to find out early enough so may not have to submit additional college applications. If you are not accepted during early decision, your application will be reviewed during the regular admission process. Therefore, you are given two applicant pools in which to be reviewed. However, early decision is usually binding. This means that you agree when you apply to enroll if you are accepted. If you are counting on financial aid, this removes room for negotiation because you are committed to attend.

    Early action shares the same benefits with early decision, but the agreement is not binding. Therefore if you are accepted through early action, you are not committed to attend that college.

    Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation?

    A recommendation needs to be an accurate reflection of you that is written in a clear and concise manner. Though someone may know you well, writing may not be their strength and they may not be able to convey their knowledge of you effectively. Moreover, someone may be a good writer, but does not have a good insight into you as a person.

    Second, choose a diverse representation of people who will encapsulate different perspectives of you: teachers, guidance counselors, extra-curricular activity advisors, coaches, community service coordinators or spiritual advisors. Avoid asking relatives or peers.

    Should the recommendations be sent with the application package?

    Recommendations can be sent with the application package or separately. However, it is better to keep as much of the application package together as possible. For those individuals completing recommendations, a stamped, addressed envelope to mail their recommendations should be provided.

    Should additional materials, which are not required, be included within the application package? You are allowed to send additional recommendations. A student resume is a helpful way to encapsulate your academics, awards, community service, job experience, co-op experience, etc. on one piece of paper.

    Upon completing an application, should I send it myself?

    You can send or bring it to the campus yourself. However, the Campbell-Savona High School Guidance Office would prefer that you bring the completed application, essay, recommendations, application fee and stamped addressed envelope to the Guidance Office. A transcript will be attached and forwarded with the application package. The office documents when the application package is sent. It is advantageous to send as much information together as possible. Please allow 2-3 weeks for your counselor to process your application: to review, complete any forms and write a recommendation if requested.

    Is it best to complete the hard copy application or complete the application on-line?

    It is a matter of what would work better for you. However, some colleges require no application fee if you apply on-line via their web site. If you do decide to apply on-line, you must notify the Guidance Department so a transcript will be sent. Colleges will not notify you if your application package is incomplete. Without your transcript, the admissions office will not make a decision.

    Bottom Line:
    • Take control of the application process by organizing it in your own way. Do not let it control you!
    • Complete your application using a black pen or typewriter. Do not use blue pen.
    • When asking individuals to write recommendations, put your request in writing with the date it needs to be returned.
    • Ask individuals writing recommendations well in advance of the deadline. If you want them to write a "quality" recommendation, avoid asking them the night before.
    • Your counselor will assist you with any part of this process. You are not in this alone.
    Documents found on this site are PDF documents, so you'll need Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to view these documents. If you don't have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it for free by clicking on the following link: