Getting Ready for College: 10 Tips from the Admissions Team at York College of Pennsylvania
It’s college application season and acceptance packages are beginning to roll out! Whether you’ve already submitted all your applications, you’re still exploring your options, or you’re just beginning the college search process, our admissions team here at YCP has advice for students at any stage. Check out some of their best tips below!
Tip 1: Challenge yourself with advanced classes in high school.
We’re sure you’ve already heard this before, but moving from high school classes to college classes can be challenging. You’ll want to be as prepared as possible for this transition. If you have the opportunity, consider taking Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses while in high school. Not only will they help prepare you for the college curriculum, but you might even be able to get college credit for those classes through AP exams.
Tip 2: Make a list of what you’re looking for in a college.
Remember the checklist we made in Choosing the Right College - In 5 Simple Steps? If you don’t, take the time to revisit it. The refresher is worth it. Each school has something different to offer. Decide what’s most important to you and keep that list handy as you browse a school’s website or take a visit to campus.
Tip 3: When deciding between applying test optional or submitting test scores, know that it is encouraged to ask your admissions counselor what your best option is.
Some schools are moving away from requiring SAT and ACT scores in order to be considered for admission. If you’re questioning whether or not to submit test scores with your application, it’s a great idea to chat with your admissions counselor. They’ll be able to give you insight on what will make you the strongest candidate possible.
Tip 4: Take the time to compare the cost and the value of the schools you’re looking at.
College is an investment, and there’s no denying it. According to U.S. News & World Report, the average cost of attendance at a private college or university for the 2022-23 academic year is $39,723. It’s important to identify what types of financial aid will be available to you at each school. This is especially important if affordability is a “must-have” on your college checklist.
Tip 5: When in doubt, ask. There are no bad questions!
You should never be afraid to ask questions. You want to make sure you’re making the right decision for yourself and your future, and so do we. Your admission counselor’s job is to help you through this process from beginning to end. They’re more than happy to get the answers to any questions you may have.
Tip 6: Visit a school multiple times.
The campus visit is one of the most informative parts of your college search. Why is visiting such a big deal? We laid it all out for you in a previous blog: Why is Visiting Colleges Important. Schools offer multiple different types of visit opportunities, and you should take advantage of them. This is the best way to get a feel for what it’s truly like to be a student on that campus.
Tip 7: Follow directions and ask someone to review your work before hitting ‘submit.’
This may sound obvious, but take the time to read the application’s directions. This is especially important if you’re completing individual applications for each school rather than a single application like the Common App. While schools may use similar prompts, you want to make sure you provide answers to exactly what they’re asking.
Be sure to have another trusted set of eyes look at your application before you turn it over for the admissions office to review. It can be easy to miss simple mistakes and a fresh set of eyes will be able to pick up on anything you may have overlooked.
Tip 8: Familiarize yourself with the Early Decision/Early Action process.
So, what’s the difference between Early Decision and Early Action? Essentially, Early Decision plans are a binding agreement stating that the accepted student will enroll at the college, while Early Action is a non-binding offer that doesn’t require students to commit until later (CollegeBoard). If you’re looking into schools that have Early Decision or Early Action options, talk with your admissions counselor about the benefits offered at that specific school. At York College, Early Decision students get early access to:
- Financial aid packages
- Guaranteed priority housing
- Course registration
Tip 9: Keep your eyes open for scholarships.
We’ve already talked about the importance of comparing the costs of each school you’re considering. We recommend also taking advantage of any and all scholarship opportunities around you to offset those costs even further. Talk with your high school counselor to get their list of local scholarships, and be sure to ask family members too. Many major employers offer scholarship programs that are extended to relatives.
Tip 10: Once you’ve chosen a college, be sure to reach out to any other schools where you submitted an application and let them know your decision.
When you make that final important decision, be sure to reach out to any other schools you applied to. We want to celebrate your success and take you off our contact list. Of course, you’re always welcome to get back in touch with us if you decide to make a change at any point along the way.
Our admissions team is always ready to chat more about the admissions process at York College. Get in contact with your counselor today, and use these tips and tricks as you begin to finalize your college plans!