Spend winter break applying to college

DeVolder Family Science Center

Dear high school senior,

You’ve visited universities and narrowed your choices. Now, it’s time to start applying.

Western Oregon University recommends high school seniors work on college applications during winter break. Here are some tips to complete your applications:

  1. Know the deadlines. Visit universities’ websites to find deadline information. Many colleges have multiple deadline options. Consider the implications each deadline so you can plan accordingly.
  2. Get organized. You will need your Social Security number, high school code, a copy of your high school transcript and in some cases, your college admission test scores to complete applications.
  3. Name, please. Use the name on your birth certificate on your application. Don’t use your nickname. For example, if you go by Joe, but your name on your birth certificate is Joseph, use the latter.
  4. Follow the directions. Read the directions, then read again. Know what you will need to complete the application before you get started.
  5. Be honest. Answer every question honesty. Don’t exaggerate your grades or test scores.
  6. Letters of recommendation. If you need to send a letter of recommendation, provide enough time for the person to write the letter. Send thank you notes to everyone who writes a letter for you.
  7. Worried about a low grade? Life happens, which can sometimes result in a low grade or two. If you are worried your GPA might prevent you from being admitted to college, talk with your high school counselor about your options, which can include the counselor sending a letter to the admissions office about what happened.
  8. Some colleges ask students to complete an essay. Make sure your essay represents who you are and answers the prompt. Pay attention to whether the essay has a word or a character maximum.
  9. Proofread once, then again. After you finish an application, put it aside for a day and then check it again for errors. Small mistakes on your application can hurt your chances of getting accepted into college. Make sure your application is free of spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Fill in all the information. College admission officers have seen everything from students forgetting to sign their applications to failing to include information.
  10. Keep copies of everything. This is your safety plan in case your documents get misplaced or lost.


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