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4-YEAR COLLEGE APPLICATION PROCESS

The Admissions office will compile all of these pieces as they arrive to develop a comprehensive picture of each applicant. Most colleges and universities have a website you can check for application completion or will contact you regarding the status of your application materials. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the colleges and universities have everything they need.

College Search

College Search Engines - Xello, College GreenLightBig Future, Colleges of Distinction, or CollegeXpress 
Does the school have the Major you plan to study? Major Mania and WI Private Colleges can help you find schools in Wisconsin with your intended major.
Questions to ask yourself:  Do you want to stay close to home or move away? Do you want a large or small campus? In a metropolitan area, city, or small town?

College Admissions
  • Check college webpages to learn more about what the school has to offer, check admission requirements, and application deadlines (some have Early Action and Early Decision deadlines!). If you are planning to apply to a UW System School, check out UW System Schools' Freshman Admissions Guidelines and Major Mania to learn more about which campuses offer the Major you are interested in.  
  • Talk to people who know: College Rep Visitation Schedule 
  • Campus visits: Work a visit into family trip. Car pool with friends. Visit friends who are currently attending college. If you don't have transportation, visit schools close to home. For example, UW-Madison will give you a sense of what a large Big Ten school feels like. Edgewood can give you a sense of what a smaller private school feels like.
  • Visit a campus during the summer - It's a great way to do something fun, stay on campus, eat the food, meet staff, and sometimes earn college credit. Check Learning Experiences Beyond the Classroom for ideas.
Writing Statements

1.  Complete the Activities Sheet and use to guide your writing for essays and scholarships.  Share w/ teachers writing letters of reccomendation.  

2.  Many colleges, including the UW System schools, post writing prompts.  Get an early jump on them!

3.  Need help to get started?  Check out these links:

**Beware: Prompts may change from year to year, so use them as a guide as to what you might see and hold off on a final draft until you see the actual prompt in the application.

NCAA Eligibility Center

Planning to play a sport at a Division I or II college?

  1. Create an account - See your counselor to see if you qualify for a fee waiver
  2. Send your Transcript through Parchment
  3. Send your ACT Scores - Juniors can select NCAA as one of the locations to have their scores sent to
  4. Check out the NCSA recruiting site to learn the ins and outs of recruiting, find the school that is right for you, and check out recruiting guidelines for your sport

School CounselorSchool Counselor

Senior Conference w/ your counselor

  • Discuss post high school plan
  • Learn about college options
  • Review your Transcript
  • Plan out next steps in the application process and more!

College Application
  • UW System Application
  • The Common Application
  • If you aren't sure which application you will need to fill out, go to the college's website and link up to the application directly from there. Applications are often found under the Admissions tab.
Application Fee Generally it costs between $50 and $75 to apply to each college. Fee waivers are often available, so see your counselor to find out if you qualify.
ACT SAT
  • Check college websites to find out which test scores they prefer. Most commonly, colleges are looking for the ACT and/or SAT.
  • All Madison students take the ACT their Junior year for FREE. Send up to 4 scores for free by selecting where you want scores to go when you register.
  • Log into your ACT account to see if you sent your scores to the colleges where you are applying.
  • If you need to retake a test, be sure to check registration deadlines to avoid paying a late fee and see your counselor to find out if you qualify for a fee waiver.
  • Need to study for the test?  La Follette offers a class that sophomores can choose during course selection prior to their junior year.  Students can also use Method Test Prep in Career Cruising.  Click My Plan>Method Test Prep.  Kaplan also offers online workshops and practice tests.
Transcripts Create an account in Parchment and select the colleges/universities where you would like your transcripts sent. You have the option to send transcripts immediately or wait until grades are reported for the current term. If waiting to send your transcripts will strengthen your application by increasing your GPA or showing an upward or consistent trajectory in grades and you will still meet deadlines, it may be in your best interest to wait. Consult with your counselor if you are unsure and to find out if you qualify for a fee waiver. Check out this video if you are having trouble ordering your transcripts:
 
Letters of Recommendation

Contact the college's admissions office, consult their website, or talk with your counselor to find out if you need letters of recommendation. If so:

  • Allow writers AT LEAST 2 weeks to write a letter for you.
  • Give the writer an Activities Sheet or Brag Sheet to help them write about what you do outside the classroom.  Ask them if they would like you to send it or if they would like to send it. If they would prefer to send it, give them a stamped envelope, addressed to the college.
  • Read, "Who should I ask to write my recommendation letter? for advice from Admissions reps.  
FAFSA Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in order to get grants, loans, and work study to pay for college.  The application opens October 1st. Check each school you are applying to for deadlines.  Student and Parent/Guardian will need to create a FSA ID which you will used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. See our Scholarships & Financial Aid page for more details 
Scholarship Opps Apply for Scholarships! This is a widely underutilized and extremely important step. Check each of your colleges websites for scholarships and take note of deadlines.  You may need to apply for a scholarship before you get your admission decision.  The Highlighted Scholarships are sorted by the month they are due. Set a reminder in your phone/planner to check here monthly.  The La Follette Local Scholarship application is posted at the beginning of December. All students planning to attend college should complete this application. Check out the nation-wide search engines as well.
Interview Some colleges offer the opportunity to interview with a rep. Contact college admissions to find out if they conduct interviews and when a rep will be in your area. The College Interview - Tips & Advice and Ace the College Interview cover tips for how to prepare and Interview for College lists 20 questions to think about before you interview.
Thank You Don't forget to acknowledge the time people put in for you along the way. Always write thank you notes to the folks who wrote letters of recommendation for you and, if you interviewed, write to the college rep who met with you.