Applying to college; your go-to guide


The dashboard section of common app is where you will be able to apply to colleges you have selected.

Story by Justine Kantor, News Editor

With college just around the corner for our seniors, the deadline for most college applications is coming soon. Depending on where someone is applying, the last day for applications is most likely going to fall somewhere between January 1st and January 15th. 

Many seniors have been planning for college and have already applied for an early decision. If you have not put much thought into your applications, do not be discouraged, there is still time.  

Applying for colleges can be stressful and time consuming. Luckily, there are tips and tricks for making your college application experience easier.

Make a list of the colleges you would like to attend and have a goal to write down at least 5 to 10 schools that spark your interest. This can be overwhelming, but there are many options as this will be a very basic list. You will look into each school more thoroughly and will not necessarily apply for every school on the list. 

Once you have formulated your list, take a few minutes to go to the website for each school. Look at the location, the programs and extracurricular activities offered, student life, and sports, if that interests you. If you have put some thought into what type of degree you would like to earn, or know what major you are interested in, this part will be extremely helpful in deciding on the right school. 

Next, look at other websites or online tools that will help give a better perspective of the schools that you are interested in. Some good websites for this step are and These resources allow you to search for any college or university and compare important information. You are able to look at demographics, admission information, cost, and see similar schools. 

Once you have had the opportunity to dig a little deeper into each school, you may find yourself crossing off some schools and adding others to your list. An important factor to remember when applying for colleges is that there will usually be an application fee ranging somewhere between $25-$80 unless it is waived. Because of this fee, it is recommended not to apply for as many schools as possible; you want to generally apply to between five and ten schools. 

Once you have formulated your list and are ready to begin applying, make sure you have all the information that you will need for your applications. If you have taken the SAT and/or ACT, have your scores ready. 

If you thought you were going to have to individually apply for each college on their website, you are in luck. The easiest way to apply to multiple colleges is through, which is used by most colleges and universities. Once you make an account, you will be able to add schools from your list onto your dashboard. Next, you will make your “Common Application” on the website. This will cover a wide range of information such as your test scores, education, activities, and your college essay. 

As soon as you complete your common application, you are ready to start applying for schools. Your student dashboard will have all the colleges you selected, and all you need to do is click on the school to begin. 

In addition to your common application, schools generally have their own small set of questions for you to answer that will be included in your application. 

If an essay is required, Common App will tell you, but if you added an essay in your common application, this will not require you to do much. 

In addition to your personal essay, some schools will ask for an additional writing supplement. For example, one university asked, “the college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.” Answer these questions honestly, but also take into account which values should be reflected in order to appeal to that school.

Before you can submit your application, you will be asked to invite recommenders, such as deans, counselors, and teachers. They will be able to submit documents such as your transcript and a recommendation to the school on your behalf. Depending on the school, this may or may not be optional. Make sure to reach out to these recommenders with plenty of time before the deadline.

While most schools accept applicants through Common App, there are a few that require application on their own, individual portals. Make sure to identify the additional components that these schools require, such as many small supplements, or submitting a resume.

Applying to colleges is an intimidating part of senior year, however, it is not as complicated as it seems. While it can be a difficult and stressful process, it is important to be patient and not to procrastinate.

Deadlines for Florida schools: 

             SCHOOL:                                                                                            DEADLINE:

Florida Atlantic University February 15 YES
Florida State University March 1  YES
University of Central Florida Summer: March 1

Fall: May 1
University of Florida March 1 YES
University of Miami January 1 YES
University of South Florida April 1  YES
Florida International University April 1 NO
Nova Southeastern University February 1 YES

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