Keeping it Reel

5 Things to do BEFORE Starting Your College Applications

It is the final semester of your senior year, which means the Senioritis is probably hitting you pretty hard. You have all of the usual homework to deal with, but on top of that, you are supposed to know exaclty what you are doing for college. It can be a lot to handle.

Hopefully, you have most of your applications done, but if you are a little late to the game, we know a few things you can do to complete your applications fficiently and effectively.

Check out our tips below.


1. Obtain 3 Letters of Recommendation

Most colleges require that you submit at least one letter of recommendation. You don’t necessarily have to have these before you start filling out college applications, but it is a good idea to approach five individuals and ask them if they would be willing to write you one. It might seem rude or awkward to ask authority figures to write a letter praising you, but most should be aware of the necessity of having a letter of recommendation on hand for college applications.


2. Create a Common App. Account

If you aren’t familiar with the Common Application, it is a website that allows you to complete multiple applications at once. You create an account with your personal information, produce a list of colleges you’d like to apply for, and then fill out one big application. The website will automatically notify you if a school has requirements outside of what the Common Application covers, so you don’t need to worry about turning in an incomplete app.

Not every college, university, or trade school is registered with Common Application, so while you may be able to apply to multiple schools at once, there might be specific colleges that you have to apply for separately.


3. Write a Personal Essay

Not every school requires a personal essay, but if you are looking to apply to a lot of schools, you should have one handy. Some schools have essays that are very specific to their application, but in most cases, you can write an essay about one of the following things:


  • Your identity, background, talent, or interest and how it has shaped you
  • A time you had a problem, how you solved it, and why it is significant
  • A time you failed and what you learned from it
  • A time you accomplished something and how it changed you

*For more detailed prompts visit the writing section of the Common Application or the particular college or university’s application.


4. Document All of Your Extracurriculars, Awards, and Honors

Most applications will ask you to list any awards or honors you have received, any community service you have done, and any extracurriculars you participate in. If you are involved in a lot of activities outside of school, then having to type these things up over and over again can be incredibly annoying.

Instead, make a Google document listing all of your accomplishments and extracurriculars before starting your applications. Then you can just copy and paste the relevant information into each application you fill out.


5. Memorize Information

One last thing you can do is memorize important information. You may not know where your parents went to college or your social security number by heart. If you identify things like this and commit them to memory (or write them down in a convenient location) before you begin your applications, you will be able to speed through the tedious parts of each application and focus on the more significant sections.


Want to apply for Columbia College Hollywood? Find us on the Common Application or download our Application Checklist below to see what you need to do to become a CCH student!

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.

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