By: Brittany Clausman
University of Michigan 2015, B.A. Communications

Days are getting shorter, nights are getting longer, and soon summer will come to its eventual, bittersweet end. While enjoying that last few days of your summer break, it’s important to keep in mind that school is right around the corner, and for many of you who are seniors, that means getting down to business applying to the colleges of your dreams. While enjoying your summer, trends and changes in the admission processes for many colleges across the nation may have slipped under your radar. We at Parros College Planning want to offer our assistance as you transverse through your applications and help keep you up-to-date on the latest college admission news. Here a few tips to consider, as well as details regarding the changes in the college admission process, to help you while you start working on your college applications.

What School Is Best for Me?

First and foremost, before you begin any of your applications, it’s important to get a foundational understanding of what you want from your college, and which college is the best choice for your needs. Many of you may already know what you plan to do in your future, but knowing which school will serve you best for that future may have alluded you. Consider some basic requirement you may have for the school of your choice: Does it have a great program that I wish to be a part of? Do I have the grades to be admitted to the school? If I get in, will I be able to afford it? As an athlete, these questions can be even more convoluted. Do I want to continue to play at the college level? Which division level do I want to play?

At Parros, we understand how daunting this task may be (the first step is always the hardest,) and guiding you through the process is of utmost importance to us. We offer expert advice from the very beginning, finding schools for your desires, or finding out how to tailor your application for your dream school.

When Should I Submit My Application?

Way back in July of this year, colleges around the country began emailing students telling them that they should start applying, and soon. If you think this seems a bit early, you are not alone, as many other students were caught off guard and left scrambling to gather transcripts and ACT/SAT scores in the immediate aftermath of the emails. Fear not, however, as the National Association for Admission Counseling has declared that all college application submitted before October 16th must be treated with equal merit, so whether you were able to submit your application in July, or are still working out the kinks, the colleges you apply to are assessing your application equally . It’s also important to consider when and why you are applying. For some of you, you may want to go with the early decision route, applying sometime between now and November. Others may feel more compelled to apply within the rolling admission timeline, eliminating the excess stress of immediate pressure to apply. Each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to consider them. You may feel you stand a better chance the earlier you submit, while others may wish to take your time, adding key touches and refining your application to a desired point. Your choice of college is another important factor to consider in this process; two college admissions departments are not the same, and it’s important to weigh the difference between and Ivy League School like Harvard, and a State College such as the University of Michigan. Researching or seeking guidance on how to transverse the confusing system of application processes is key to making sure you not only submit your application on time, but also that your submission is seen in the best way possible by college admission departments.

What Does My School Want from Me?

As many of you have heard (or are may be hearing for the first time,) the SAT was altered over the summer. While the changes to the SAT do not take effect until March of 2016, you still need to know what exactly the colleges you are applying for are requiring with your application. Does your top choice college want your SAT score with an essay, or without? Does the school even need your SAT score, considering the fact that more and more schools over the summer decided to opt out of required test score submissions. Again, no two colleges are exactly the same when to comes to designating what type of student they will admit and what they require for admittance, so spending a little time on each college admissions webpage can serve as a huge benefit for your college search.

How Will I Afford College?

It’s no secret that college is an incredible expense for many people. Over the summer two big things changed in the financial side of college planning, possibly altering the way in which you look at financing your college future. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, was altered over the summer after being taken over by the US Department of Education. If you are a student who wishes to apply for need-based aid, you’ll be happy to hear that the once steep $80 dollar fee for filing your FAFSA is now a thing of the past as the department has removed it. Be sure to visit their website to learn more about the process of filing for aid.

If merit-based aid is your main source for financing college, you may want to consider changes made to the website, MeritAid.com. Popular site MeritAid.com is no more, replaced instead with the service Cappex. If you wished to use the website, you may have been confused when you found that it no longer exists. Searching for merit aid independently is at times a tricky process, usually requiring considerable amount of time and effort. As a key part of our Promise Package, we at Parros College Planning focused strongly on finding you the best merit aid possible for your situation in life. With our experience and know-how, we ca guide your process to find the best aid for you.

College Admissions can be a strenuous process for most students. At Parros College Planning, we want you feel excitement at the idea of beginning the next step of your life, not the unwanted pressure that can stop in your tracks. With our advising, we can tailor your college planning to a successful resolution.