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15 things to do in the college application process before winter break

Are you a high school student who is ready to apply to college? The college application process can be overwhelming, but don't worry, you can conquer it!

Before winter break, you can complete several important tasks to make your college application journey a success.

Have questions about applying to Central Michigan University? Check out our frequently asked questions page and get your questions answered.

View application FAQs


Here are 15 things to do in the college application process before winter break:

1. Research colleges

 Have you researched the colleges you want to apply to? Look at their websites, social media pages, and resources like college ranking websites to find out more about each school.

You might decide to narrow down your favorite colleges to a list of five. That will make it easier to apply to. 

2. Attend college fairs 

College fairs are great events to attend to meet college representatives and ask questions about the admissions process. NACAC keeps a list of college fairs that you can reference.

Consider going to a few college fairs with your family and friends. They can help you ask questions and narrow down your search. 

3. Talk to your guidance counselor 

Your guidance counselor can be a valuable resource during the college application process. Schedule a meeting to discuss your college goals and get personalized advice. Ask questions about admissions requirements and majors at specific schools. 

4. Work on your college essay 

Your college essay is an important component of your application. Use the time before winter break to brainstorm ideas, write drafts, and get feedback from teachers or peers.

Some schools don’t require an essay for admission, but you might need an essay to apply for private scholarships. 

5. Request transcripts and recommendations

Many colleges require transcripts. Make sure to request these in a timely manner from your guidance counselor. Letters of recommendation might be needed for private scholarships.

Be sure to give your teachers plenty of time to write you a great recommendation. Choose teachers that you have a personal relationship with you who will share your gifts and strengths. 

6. Narrow down your college list

By the end of the semester, make sure to have a final list of colleges you want to apply to. Consider factors like location, majors, and campus culture.

Where do you think you will thrive? Which colleges have your major? Find the college that best fits your personal needs.  

7. Complete any necessary testing

If you haven't already, take the SAT or ACT and any subject tests required by the colleges you're applying to. Consider getting a study guide or working with a tutor to get the best possible score.

Some colleges, like Central Michigan University, are test optional, but you still might decide to take the tests. 

8. Start your application 

Your fall semester is a great time apply for colleges. You will stay on track with your peers and give you better odds of being accepted to your first-choice college.

Many colleges use the Common Application, which allows you to apply to multiple schools using one application. Begin your application and work on filling out sections like your personal information and activities.

9. Apply for financial aid 

There is probably no form more important to your college career than the FAFSA. 

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and applying for scholarships can help you pay for college. The FAFSA opens Oct. 1, and it’s best to get a jump on completing it.

Start the process before winter break so you can be prepared for any deadlines.

10. Attend college events

Some programs offer special events to recruit students to their majors. Take a look at the events calendars of the schools you are considering attending.

Take time to build your social network with professors, alumni and current students. These relationships can help you get involved with undergraduate research or even get a job after college. 

11. Visit college campuses

Seeing colleges in person is one of the most effective ways to determine which college is the right fit for you. Schedule visits to your top picks before winter break.

Many schools have special days for students. You can speak to current students and faculty as well as ask questions to financial aid. 

12. Create a timeline

Use a planner or calendar to map out important dates like application deadlines and test dates. Staying on top of deadlines will keep your stress level low and make it easier to apply for colleges.

Some important dates to consider are application deadlines, filling out the FAFSA and campus visit days you may want to attend. 

13. Practice time management

Balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and the college application process can be a challenge. Practice good time management skills to stay organized and on track.

Work on your college applications a little each day and you will keep them from stacking up on you. Don’t forget to schedule time with your friends and family. College is important, but you want to be feeling your best. 

14. Attend college workshops

Many schools or organizations offer workshops to help students succeed in the college application process. Attend these to learn more about what colleges are looking for in applicants.

Ask your parents to attend with you. They can help you make decisions and stay on track with your application process. 

15. Stay positive

Applying to college can be stressful, but staying optimistic and focused can make a huge difference. Remember that you're not alone in this process and support is available to you.

Keep good study habits and take care of your mental health. Make time to exercise and to get out and see your friends and family. 

Before winter break is the perfect time to make significant progress in the college application process. By completing these fifteen tasks, you can ensure that you're on the right track to a successful admission.

Remember to start early, stay organized, and reach out for help when needed. With hard work and determination, you can achieve your college dreams!

At Central Michigan University, we encourage our students to get ahead of the crowd and apply as early as possible. Check out our website for complete information on how to apply as an incoming freshman.

Blog: All Things Higher Ed posted | Last Modified: | Author: by University Communications | Categories: University Communications
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