The College Application Process: Finding Success

Rockford Promise Guest Blog Post

Megan Frankfother, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Rockford University

Applying for college is an exciting milestone in many high school juniors’ and seniors’ lives. This is
happening amidst other milestones such as preparing for high school graduation, and wrapping up high
school athletic careers or other extra-curricular activities. With so many exciting things happening at
once, the college application process may seem a bit daunting. But don’t let this dissuade you from
applying! Here are a few tips to help you get started and increase your chances of acceptance at your
preferred college or university.

  1. Be Mindful of Application Requirements & Deadlines:
    Missing application deadlines or failing to submit all required documents can reduce your
    chances of acceptance. Plan ahead by determining which colleges you want to apply to, then
    research each schools’ application deadlines and requirements.
    Pro tip: use a central tracking place for this information such as an excel file on your computer, a
    notes app on your mobile device, or a notebook dedicated to your college application process.
  2. Letters of Recommendation:
    Some colleges require letters of recommendation, but not all. However, even if it’s not a
    requirements, including letters of recommendation can help you stand out from the crowd. Ask
    for recommendations from teachers, employers, or mentors who you know well. These people
    should be able to speak to your characters, accomplishments, and work ethic. Be mindful that
    these people likely want to help you, but may have busy schedules. Therefore, please ensure
    you provide ample time for your recommenders to write thoughtful and personalized letters.
  3. Personal Statement:
    Similar to letters of recommendation, not all applications require a personal statement.
    However, it can help your application stand out from the crowd. Whether required or not, a
    personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your writing skills, and your unique
    background and goals. Your personal statement should include personal experiences like
    challenges you’ve overcome, accomplishments, and other experiences that shaped your
    character and have influenced your goal to attend college.
  4. Stay in Touch:
    Keeping in touch with your college admission counselor is key. A college admission counselor’s
    job is to help you through the admission process. The process and communication methods can
    vary from school to school. You will likely receive emails, phone calls, and text messages from
    the admission offices offering help and guidance to complete your application. Be sure to check
    in with them to let them know you are still active in the admission process and ensure you have
    all requirements met.
    Pro tip: if applying to multiple institutions, use the same email address for all of them so that
    you always know where to find email communications from each school.

In conclusion, success in the college admission process is all about determining your goals, showcasing
your unique qualities, and staying organized. Remember to find joy and feel the sense of
accomplishment that applying to college is! You’ve already achieved so much to get to this point.
Still feel uncertain or have questions? Contact the admissions office where you want to apply, they’ll
help you through every step of the way. Best wishes and happy applying!

Megan Frankfother
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management
Rockford University