Preparing for College: The Application Process Part 2

reamads USAMember, Tallo Ambassador Posts: 1,095 🏆️ I Champion  
edited July 28 in Higher Education

Ways to apply to college

Common Application-I think most all of us have heard of the Common App, so I won't do a very long explanation. Basically, the Common App has a lot of different colleges. It has the essays that you need to write for your colleges (so you have a Common App essay and any supplementals), your deadlines, etc. I would recommend that you make your account as early as possible (you can sign up at 16), so you can fill out all of your basic information (name, birthday, grades, family info., etc.) and save time during the actual application process. You are limited to 20 colleges.

Coalition Application-The Coalition App is very similar to Common, so I won't go into a lot of detail about it. The main difference is there is no limit to how many colleges you apply to. There are also colleges that only use one or the other, or both. You can start your account freshman year and write all of your things out. There are fewer colleges on Coalition though, so keep that in mind.

Well, which one should I use? -Whichever one has the majority of your schools. If more of your schools use Coalition, use that, if more use Common use that. It doesn't matter which one you use, as colleges have no preference.

Questbridge- I'm not sure how many have heard about Questbridge, but it is an amazing opportunity, so I wanted to mention it in this post. Questbridge is an application as well as a chance to win a full ride to a top college.

How does it work?-First off make sure you meet the income requirements. There isn't a hard limit, but there is a suggested number.

Next, you want to rank your schools. You get up to 20, but you can (hopefully) only "match" to one.

You may wonder what that means. So, with Questbridge, you get to apply to up to 20 schools, you rank them one to 20.

EXAMPLE- Let's say I am applying to Duke, Vanderbilt, and Stanford. So if my top choice was Stanford, it'd be #1, let's say I want Duke #2, Vanderbilt #3.

So if any of those accept me it's called "matching." So if I "match" with Stanford, then I'd get a full ride to Stanford, and then if I don't get into Stanford it goes down the list to who wants to accept me that is next ranked.

EXAMPLE- if Stanford and Duke rejected me, but Vanderbilt accepted me- I'd only match with Vanderbilt.

But if they all reject me- I can turn in my application for regular decision, but I won't get the scholarship.

It is only $25 for the application + $16 for each additional college you apply to.

Common Black College Application-The Common Black College Application is an application to apply to many of the nation's HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) It is a $20 fee to apply to as many as you want, but there is a free week in October where you can apply for free (same for many of the HBCUs that aren't a part of the CBCA.) The only downside is that most of the bigger HBCUs are not apart.

Apply Texas-Apply Texas is kind of like the Common App, but only for colleges in Texas. There are both public and private schools. You don't have to be a Texas resident.

UC Application-This is the official and only application for the University of California system. You can apply for all of the UCs at once, but you do have to pay $70 for each one you apply to. The University of Wisconsin has a similar system for its schools.

So how do you decide what to put on your college app?

Common App uses a ranking system. So put the more important things first. You do have a description as well as additional info sections! So for my clubs, I plan on putting DECA, Key Club, Journalism, FBLA, another club I am considering joining, National Honor Society, and Coding Club. For awards, I plan on grouping some together. (Ex- DECA awards grouped together) That way, I have room for all of my important accomplishments!

What are the different forms of Financial Assistance? - By @D_Thomas19

What is Financial Aid?-Financial aid is simply based on the student's needs. "Need" is based on an analysis of how well the student can properly afford College Costs. Need is the difference between the "Expected Family Contribution to the College Cost" and the original cost of attending College. For example, Harvard University costs $73,800 before aid. (Unless you are in a rich family, no one is going to pay $73,800 for College. You can buy your dream car with that money! Pay rent on a home! Buy an endless amount of Oreos! You can do a lot of things with this amount of money!) Since these colleges know that people are interested in their college, they have certain strategies for meeting the needs of different families. This can include loans, work programs, and grants. You should always contact the School's financial aid office and ask about their policies.

How is "Need" Established?-Need is established by filing two different forms: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) & Texas Application for Student Financial Aid (TASFA). 

What is FAFSA? -FAFSA is the cornerstone of all financial aid. This aid provides more than $150 Million in Federal Grants, Loans, and work programs. You can file it using estimated tax information. There are no fees to complete the FAFSA. I advise you to seek assistance in completing the FAFSA from the Financial Aid Office at the College/University.

What is TASFA?-Texas allows undocumented students to apply for financial aid and in-state resident tuition rates under specific conditions. These "conditions" apply to all institutions. Some Colleges have certain policies that will allow undocumented students to have the same process as any other U.S. student if they have attended a high school in the U.S.

Can International Students Apply for Student Aid?-International Students are not eligible for Federal Student Aid. However, they may be eligible for institutional aid. Some schools determine who gets institutional aid and the eligibility requirements, so it is imperative to apply for Colleges that offer institutional aid to international students. UsNews states "For example, she says many international families ask her about getting a scholarship to Boston College, because without financial assistance, they cannot afford the school. "In this case I suggest they don't even apply, as Boston College is very clear that they don't offer any institutional aid to international students," Kent says." 

What are Grants? -Grants are another form of Student Aids. Grants are basically free money that typically does not have to be repaid. Grants come from different organizations; Federal Government, State Government, Private organizations, or Colleges.

Are Scholarships and Grants the same thing?-No. Most scholarships are awarded on a combination of merit and need. Grants are mostly awarded on need. For some Grants, you do not need to worry about your grades, it will be all about "need" (Remember, "Need" is based on an analysis of how well the student can properly afford College Costs.) 

How do I get a Grant?-It all starts with the FAFSA. You will not get a grant if you do not fill the FAFSA form out first! Once you fill this form out, you will receive a financial aid award letter, which will let you know what grants you are eligible for. In your Financial Aid Award Letter, you will receive a federal grant notice. You can also get a grant through something called, “CSS Profile” This will help you gain access to grants and scholarships alike. However, the CSS Profile costs money and is more tedious than the FAFSA. $25 for the Application & $16 for each school you apply to. I recommend that you use the CSS Profile for the Colleges that seem to be, “impossible” to get into. 


  • reamads
    reamads USAMember, Tallo Ambassador Posts: 1,095 🏆️ I Champion  

    I'm sorry for the odd formatting!

    We went over the character limit and I wasn't able to post all the info!

    I'll make a separate post with all of that information!

  • Mel
    Mel Compton, CA Member Posts: 789 🗺️ | Pathfinder

    Above and beyond as always @D_Thomas19 and @reamads! Great Information, can't wait for the next post!

  • Shamar_D99
    Shamar_D99 South Carolina, USAMember, Boeing Mentee Posts: 77 👁️‍🗨️ | Seeker

    I'd also add if there is a greek organization or alumni chapter in your area see if you can apply for some scholarships that way too. I know A&T has an alumni chapter in the charleston metro for those interested.

  • cab
    cab Member, Tallo Ambassador Posts: 380 🗺️ | Pathfinder

    Great job, @reamads! I enjoyed reading your post. As always, you poured invaluable knowledge into the community! And @D_Thomas19, thank you for contributing! Your section brought fresh insight into the world of financial aid. You two are a fantastic duo.

  • Angel_Scholar
    Angel_Scholar Member Posts: 144 💫 | Contributor

    Great job! I definitely have to save this for when Its my time to go to college!


    If you hadn't had the chance please check out my spotlight challenge -

  • MonseC423
    MonseC423 United States📍Member, Tallo Ambassador Posts: 1,530 🦉 I Sage

    Thank you so much for this post @reamads!

    I know that I read it a little late, but hopefully, you believe in "better late than never"! ;)

    I have heard most of the terms you mentioned but I never really understood what they meant. College things can be so confusing haha.

    Thanks again!🤗