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College Applications

Preparing for Your College Applications

 Most colleges expect students to apply online and very few will still accept the old fashioned, paper-and-pencil application.  Be prepared for lots of new terminology, keeping track of many important dates and deadlines, and remembering plenty of usernames and passwords.  The following tips will help you be prepared to complete your online applications. 


  1. Take the ACT ( & SAT ( at least once in your junior year
    • Plan to repeat the ACT or SAT in the early fall of your senior year (whichever test you preferred)
  2. Identify & keep track of your college application deadlines (aim for early action deadlines)
  3. Determine if your colleges prefer the use of a certain online application
  4. Set up your account with CFNC (College Foundation of North Carolina) at (for most NC schools)
  5. Set up your account with The Common Application at (for many out-of-state schools)
  6. Use an appropriate email that you regularly check (at least weekly)
  7. Preview applications during your junior year so you know what to expect
  8. Use the summer between junior & senior years wisely (visit colleges, write rough draft essays, & prepare your resume)
  9. Begin your applications around August 1 of your senior year
  10. Be prepared to pay college application fees (generally $30 - $50)
  11. Fee waivers may be available for students who qualify for free/reduced lunch
  12. Send your official test scores as requested by going to and/or


Your transcript is used by colleges to determine whether you demonstrated college readiness.  Because you must send your transcript in the fall of your senior year, colleges use the GPA from your 9th - 11th grade years to determine eligibility along with an assessment of the courses you have taken in those years and plan to take in  your 12th grade year.  How can you send your official transcript to colleges?

  • Send it to colleges in NC through the Transcript Manager in CFNC --
  • Common App (many out-of-state applications) - we are linked to Naviance and transcripts will be sent automatically by your counselor
  • Fill out a Transcript Request Form and submit it to the Registrar in the Student Services Office (other applications & scholarships)


Recommendations are a part of the college application that "paint a picture" of your strongest academic, character, leadership and other traits.  Colleges may or may not request letters of recommendation; those who want them may prefer a recommendation form rather than an actual letter.  Who can write you a letter of recommendation?  Anyone who knows you well, but some of the people most typically asked are listed below.  Don't forget to give these folks at least two weeks notice and be sure to write them a thank you note!

  • teachers
  • coaches
  • employers
  • club advisors
  • faith-based leaders
  • counselors
  • administrators
  • peers (only if specifically asked by a colleges to provide a peer recommendation)