It’s that time of the year again - a time for better resolutions, fresh starts, and new pens and notebooks. Except next year, you will be in college! Apart from your academics and extra curricular activities, come senior year, one more thing will surely take up a big chunk of your time: college applications. Without a doubt, one of the hardest things about the college application process is staying on top of everything. Things can so easily get out of hand and so it is very important to always keep the following tips in mind:
1. Research well in advance.
It is never too early to think about college. You can always research profiles of potential colleges abroad through their websites and forums, and read up on their respective application processes as well. Familiarize yourself with as many terms related to college apps as possible. Browsing through the CAMP website is a very good start as it already provides you with documents on the basic things you need to know. Attend college talks and tours in schools around Manila if and when possible. Especially when applying to colleges in the Philippines, do not hesitate to seek the help of your guidance counselors for this is their area of expertise. Ask them about the various entrance exams and the kinds of preparation you should be making for them. Seek their advice when you are stumped on your college essays.
2. Prepare for standardized tests and entrance exams.
The United States has the SATs whereas the Philippines has ACET, UPCAT, DLSUCET, and the like. If you are applying to colleges in the US, it is important to be aware of how the SATs work, as most colleges require them. Most people start preparing for the SATs long before senior year and may in fact take them multiple times prior to sending in their applications. On the other hand, the entrance exams in the Philippines can only be taken once each in your senior year. Review centers and materials can be found everywhere though so make sure that you get a hold of them.
3. Create a personal timetable.
This is especially important if you are applying to colleges in more than one country. Most countries differ in schedules and so it is of utmost importance to keep track of all the dates, from deadlines for submissions and test dates to release of application and test results. For example, the application season in the Philippines usually begins in June of your senior year so that the results are out by January. However, in the United States, it is completely different. For instance, early applications and early decisions are usually due in October, for which results come out in December, whereas regular decision applications are usually due in January, with results coming out in March or April. Aim to finish applications well before their deadlines. Mark these dates on your calendars so that you don’t miss them.
4. Talk to your mentors.
We are here to help you out and so do not hesitate to shoot us an email if you have any questions regarding your college applications. It would also benefit you to ask us about the challenges we had to go through and our eventual successes. Our first-hand experiences are what make us qualified mentors and so you can rest assured that we have nothing but invaluable advice to share with you.
5. Gauge yourself.
It is important to know where exactly you stand before embarking on one of the most rewarding, often humbling, and definitely life-changing journeys you will ever have. In truth, it is as important to know your class rank, standing, grade point average, test scores and the like, as it is to discern how well a fit your potential colleges are for you. Always be honest with yourself and don’t forget to set realistic goals. Don’t stress or worry too much. This way, no matter where you end up after your journey, you will always be happy to know that you did your best and you’re where you’re meant to be.
Bernice Halili graduated from International School Manila in 2011. She now attends the Ateneo de Manila University as a member of the class of 2015.