The thought of your child applying to college may seem overwhelming. If you have not gone through the experience before, a little extra knowledge can go a long way.

What can be expected in a typical college application?

Essay or other writing sample

This is your child’s chance to set themselves apart and shine. Be willing to read your child’s essay and offer suggestions. Help them plan ahead, so they have time to put their best foot forward. Passion counts, so help them find a subject that demonstrates their strengths and interests.


Some schools require 2-3 weeks to process a transcript request. You may also need to have test scores sent to the colleges. Help your children plan ahead so that they don’t miss deadlines.

Test Scores

Encourage your child to research the school that they are interested in to know which tests they need to take. Some of these tests are only available once a month, so planning is key.

Recommendation Forms

Help your child identify people who know them well and can give a favorable recommendation. It can help for your child to give them a synopsis of their activities and achievements. As with the other items, it is important to plan ahead and give the people giving the recommendations plenty of time to complete them.

List of activities

Your child will need to list all of their activities, leadership positions, work experience, awards and achievements. Your assistance in proofreading this can be a big advantage for your child.

Fee or Fee waiver form

Some colleges have a form where you can get the admissions fee waived, or if you attend a visit, they may waive the form. If you don’t have the fee waived, you will need to provide payment with your applications.


Colleges can ask for other things. If your child is going for a degree in the arts, they may be asked to submit a portfolio or performance file. Be sure to research what the colleges on your child’s hot list require and double-check the deadlines!

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