Students FAQ

    • How many letters of recommendation do I need?

That will depend on the requirements of the individual college. The combination of college and scholarship requirements have resulted in some students needing as many as five recommendations where some students are not asked for any recommendations. My advice is to secure letters of recommendation from three trusted sources. It is much better to have three letters and not need them than to have no letters and discover that your favorite college and scholarship applications require multiple letters.

    • Where can I find scholarships online?

Try this website. There are a number of other scholarship sites. I suggest that a temporary email address be created and submitted to a scholarship search site because the amount of junk mail that will accompany the scholarship notices is incredible. The temporary address can be deleted when the scholarship search is completed.

    • To how many colleges should I send applications?

This depends on your application strategy. Remember that no matter the number, you can only attend one college. I believe that the range between three and six should fit into the plans of most students seeking acceptance into college.

    • Why do I need a resume?

Few schools require a resume. The resume can be used to help the people writing your letters of recommendation produce a more robust letter. There are also circumstances where the application has no place for all the information you want to include. The resume is a good vehicle for submitting information that has no other place in the application.

    • What should be the length of my essays?

My advice is a range of 600 to 700 words in your essays. There are short answer essays of 150 words and long responses of 1000 words in the various applications. If you are not given a required length, the 600 to 700 word essay is a good, one-page option that is long enough to deliver the message without becoming too “wordy”. They can also be shaved down or embellished to decrease or increase the length if needed to satisfy requirements form a different application.

    • What is the most important thing on my application?

Grades are the most important thing on your application. They serve as the door you must enter before the other components of your application can be considered. The GPA, Class Rank and SAT/ACT test scores are the top three pieces of information required by the college.

    • How do I get my transcripts sent to the college?

The registrar at your school will send the transcripts once you request them.

    • How do I send my test scores to the college?

SAT – you must request that they be sent at
ACT – You must log onto the site and request those scores be sent.

    • How do I list the National Honor Society on my application?

Even though NHS has “National” in its name, being inducted into the society is done on the local level. If you have not been involved in the NHS outside the confines of your high school, you must list your participation in the organization on the local level.

    • How do I respond to the Dual Credit question on the ApplyTexas application?

If you have taken or are taking a Dual Credit class you will need to select the response “college credit hours” on page 3 question 1. You must also provide the community college information for the school awarding you the college credit.

    • How are essays attached to the ApplyTexas application?

Be sure to copy and paste your essays into the appropriate areas without headings. (They will have all that information by virtue of pasting them into the correct space). Also, get a look at your essays in the preview window. It may not look the same. If it changes, you will need to correct all the changes in the edit view and then look at the preview window again.

    • How do I get my letters of recommendation to the colleges?

Letters of recommendation (LoR) are not required by every college. If they say nothing in their application about LoR, send them one letter only. If LoR are mentioned, follow their instructions concerning them.

When using the Common Application, all you need to do is provide the contact information for your letter writers and the application management people will do the rest. With college-specific or the ApplyTexas application, the letters will need to be physically mailed to the university campus. You can achieve this in three ways.

Address an envelope to each college admissions department where you are applying and give that set of envelopes to each letter writer. Make sure it has the proper postage. The letter writer can drop it in the mail when they complete the letters.

Address an envelope to each college admissions department where you are applying and give that set of envelopes to each letter writer. Provide no postage on the envelopes but have them seal the letters inside and return them to you so that you can mail them.

Some school counselors take an active part in sending the LoR. If yours does, follow the second step and turn the letters in to your counselor to be sent with your other school information.

    • Should I send my SAT and/or ACT scores to the colleges if I am taking the exams again?

When you have your ACT scores sent to the colleges, they will get all the scores you have anyway. You can wait till your new scores are ready and send them all at once. You can choose to send only one set of scores from the SAT but all the test dates will be sent to the schools. They will know that you have other scores that you withheld and know that they are scores that you must want to keep secret so I suggest sending them all for the SAT too. The admissions offices tell me that they will only consider the scores that give you the best chance to get accepted. Also, any colleges that super score will need all the scores anyway.

    • What do I do with the “Anything extra you want to add” section in the Common Application?

Consider that section a freedom of expression area. Tell the admissions committee about anything that is important to you about school, life, what you hope to accomplish, what you want out of their university, major, career…. Really, anything you want to say.

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