Video by Owen Churchwell.
As deadlines for college applications are approaching, understanding the college admissions process has become crucial for seniors at Clarke Central High School.
ODTV staffer Owen Churchwell: Can you give me a brief overview of the college application process?
Clarke Central High School college advisor Alyssa Yuhouse: In tenth grade, you take PSAT. Eleventh grade, you take (the) SAT in the spring or summer. Senior year, you usually take it again. Some people take it like five times; some people take it like twice. It all just depends on the student. Then, you take your GPA and your test scores and you narrow it down to the schools that you want to apply for. Based on the deadlines, you apply for (the schools) and then we work on FAFSA which is the federal application to get money for student aid. Then we work on scholarships; a lot of scholarships. Then you accept your acceptance. A lot of it is very time-consuming.
OC: What is the Common Application and how is it important for students applying for college?
AY: So there are multiple websites like the Common Application. You have the Common Application, the Coalition Application and Georgia Futures. It is important because they streamline the application process and make it a lot shorter. Students make a Common Application and it’s your basic information: activities, grades, what your parents do and things like that. Then you can add schools and do the extra part for that school. You don’t have to put your name in a hundred applications and then it is one fee waiver application process.
OC: Describe the college application process, in terms of early decision, early action and regular decision.
AY: Early decision applications are binding, so binding (means) that if you get in and somehow figure out how to afford it even with loans, you have to go. You can not go to another university. You have to sign paperwork; it’s a contract. I don’t usually recommend it unless this has been your dream school your whole entire life and your parents know that they can afford it. A lot of schools in Georgia don’t do early decision. It’s like your Ivy Leagues, your Stanford, your Emory. Things like that. Early action, I can’t say that each school is the same, but for UGA if you apply early action and you don’t know if you are going to get in, it can’t hurt you. If you get denied from early action, you would have been denied regular decision, you are just going to find out in Nov. instead of March. For the people who do get in then you find out earlier and if it’s like your number one school than you don’t have to worry for the rest of the year. You can work on scholarships or whatever else that you need to do. Then you can get deferred regular decision which means they want more information from you. Early action is pretty much just test scores, your GPA, and the rigor of your coursework throughout high school. So then you can do recommendations and there’s essays, even though UGA made students do the essays and optional recommendations this year.
OC: How can students reach out to you for information on the college application process?
AY: I get a lot of emails, people just come down to the office, or I will see them in the hallway. I see people outside of school by accident and they will be like ‘I need to see you,’ and I’ll be like ‘OK, make an appointment,’ and they will call my office from their teacher’s phone. They find me.
OC: Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
AY: The whole process is really confusing and there is a lot of little parts. So if you are first generations students and your parents didn’t go, it is a lot harder, but what I found this year is that even if the student’s parents didn’t go to college and they are applying, you still don’t really know. So it is OK to not know what you are doing because you guys haven’t done this before and that is why I am here. Because of all those little moving parts and to help you apply to the right school and make sure that you are doing everything correctly so that you can end up somewhere in the fall.