Could someone explain the college application process?

Could someone explain the college application process?
I’m applying to college in the fall and was wonder what i need, what i include, and what to do.

Research colleges, considering potential majors and what you’re looking for from a college (public/private, large/small, urban/rural). has some helpful info for narrowing down your search. It’s smart to apply to several- a few where you are pretty much guaranteed admission (called safety schools), a bunch where you have a good chance of getting in, and a few “reach schools” that you’d like to attend but are less likely to get in. Contact the colleges you’re interested in and ask for more information (you can usually do this online). They will send you info that outlines how to apply. Pay close attention to the deadlines.

Generally, you fill out a basic application which is usually available online (a lot of colleges use the Common Application- ) and then you may have to write some essays or add additional information. The basic application usually asks about your extracurriculars, so then there’s no need to send an extra resume or list of activities. When you submit your application, you can pay the fee online or send in a check. Some colleges waive the fee if you apply online.

You have to get all your test scores (SAT, SAT II, ACT, AP, IB) sent to the schools you’re interested in, as well as your official high school transcript. (You usually indicate on the test where you want your scores sent but can also add more schools after you test for a fee) Most schools require teacher recommendations, so ask
teachers who know you and your abilities well to write them. It is nice to ask them at least a month (or more) before they’re due.

If you’re applying for financial aid, you have to fill out FAFSA (available online at and possibly the CSS Profile (available at by the deadlines, which are usually in the spring before you attend.