The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

For Rising Seniors: How to Start Preparing for College Applications

Class of 2025 you are nearly done highschool!

It’s almost senior year for the class of 2025! However, that also means that if you are planning on going to college, you are going to have to start preparing for college applications. The best time to start preparing is during this summer. So, here are a few things you can start doing to get ready for college applications.

Take the SAT

Not all colleges require the SAT anymore; however, some colleges will. So, if you don’t know what colleges you want to go to yet, it’s better to take it and not need it than not take and need it. To sign up for the SAT, go to the College Board website and press register for the SAT. Pick a date and a location. Make sure you give yourself enough time to study! The College Board recommends studying using Bluebook, and make sure to familiarize yourself with Desmos because you can now use Desmos on the new online SAT.

Research Colleges

Start to figure out your preferences in colleges. Do you want to go to a big or small college? Where do you want it to be located? Will you live in a dorm, an apartment/house, or still live at home? Think about your financial situation, what colleges are you going to be able to afford? Remember, FAFSA funds can help you pay for college, but it’s not guaranteed, so I wouldn’t rely on it. Most importantly, what’s your major? It’s okay if you are still undecided, but start to narrow down your options.

After you know your preferences, I recommend finding colleges that match them in Naviance. On Naviance, go to the SuperMatch College Search and add your preferences. It will then generate a list of colleges that fit them. Then, start researching them through Naviance, the college’s website, or other websites/apps like Niche or US News. Start making a list of colleges you would like to go to based on your research. This will become your college list that you can later use to narrow down your choices to which you are officially going to apply to.

Letters of Recommendation

Many colleges, but not all, require you to send in letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, or other important people (not anyone you are related to). It is recommended that you have at least 2-3 letters of recommendation plus the letter of recommendation that your counselor will write for you. So, start brainstorming who you are going to ask for letters. Usually, you should ask people who taught you in junior or will teach you in senior year. However, it’s okay if one or two of your teachers taught you in sophomore year.

What teachers/coaches have you connected with that you think will write a good letter? Once you know who you are going to ask, it is recommended that you ask them before the school ends, so that they have all summer to write it. However, if you wait until the beginning of senior year, that is okay too just make sure that you give them enough time to write it. Especially if they are a popular teacher, make sure to ask them before they get too swamped.

Some teachers don’t care if you just ask them through email but others prefer if you ask them in person. Don’t be nervous asking them! They most likely will say yes. If they say yes, make sure to send them a request in Naviance so that they can upload their letter when they are done.

Before you ask your teachers though, make sure that you have either updated your Naviance resume or create a Google Doc with information that your teachers might be able to use for their letters. For example, not all teachers might know what you do outside of school or all of the clubs that you are in. Make sure to list your clubs, extracurriculars, community service, jobs, and awards/certificates. Also, don’t forget to tell them what you plan on majoring in!


Start looking into scholarships that will help you pay for college. I recommend creating an account on It has scholarships that don’t require an essay, and some that do. The more scholarships you are able to win, the less you may have to pay. College Board, Naviance, and Niche also are a good place to find scholarships. RaiseMe is an app that gives micro scholarships. Not all colleges do this through RaiseMe, but it’s worth it to check. If your college does provide micro scholarships through RaiseMe, you can get money for every good grade, your extracurriculars, jobs, community service, awards, etc. So, it is definitely worth checking out.

The Common App

Most likely, your college application is going to be through the Common App. If your college doesn’t accept the Common App, talk to your counselor about what website you will have to go through instead. During the summer is a great time to start setting up your Common App account. Create an account, preferably using your personal email, and a password (that you should write down). Once you have an account you can start filling in the personal information such as your family, schooling, activities, etc. The more you do now, the less you will have to worry about later when you start to actually apply to colleges.

An important part of your application you should start to think about is your Personal Statement essay. Your Personal Statement essay, also known as your Common App essay, can be about anything that you feel colleges should know about you. Normally, they are about an activity you do, a time where you have overcome a challenge, or a different perspective on something.

In the Common App they have a few different prompts, but it is actually recommended that you don’t look at the prompts when writing the essay. Write about whatever you feel in the moment, and then when you are ready to turn it in, look over the prompts and see which one fits better. Don’t worry about your essay not fitting into one of the prompts because the last one is open-ended, which allows you to write about anything.

Visit Colleges

If you have an idea of what colleges you want to go to, or just want to start looking at colleges, the best way to get a feel of living there is by going to visit them. While this may be harder if you are planning to go farther away for college, you can utilize the summer to visit places. Especially if you are busy during the school year, start visiting colleges now.

Many colleges take note of who visits, and they might even consider that in your application (they do take into account how far away you are). Even if you aren’t planning to go to the college, visit the closer ones just so that you can get a feel of what you want in a college. You can schedule visits on the college’s website.

While this may seem daunting, take a deep breath. While it helps to do these things early, it’s okay if you don’t. Enjoy your summer!


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About the Contributor
Andrea Mistichelli
Andrea Mistichelli, Media/Design Editor
I’m Andrea! I run The Chomp's Twitter: @GatorNewspaper. I enjoy reading, especially fantasy, and have danced at Tricia Sloan Dance Center for fifteen years and counting. Besides The Chomp, I am also involved in the French Club, NHS, and Gateway's Mentor Program.
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