College application checklist for high school students

September 20, 2021

The college application process can feel overwhelming, especially if you wait until a few weeks before deadlines.

Checklists are a proven tool for reaching your goals quicker, so we’ve put together this reference of four things you need to do during high school before submitting college applications. 

1. Start a simple journal about what you enjoy. 

College admissions officers want to understand what makes each applicant unique. You need to have clear and memorable responses to “tell me about yourself.” 

What gets you excited? How do you spend your time? What are you curious about? Start writing notes to yourself answering these questions. Don’t worry about format or grammar – just get your ideas out. Remember, this isn’t just about classes you find interesting. Eventually, you’ll need to write essays that capture the essence of who you are as a person

As you’re reflecting on what motivates you, look up some TED Talks to watch others with similar interests share stories. Add some notes in your journal about what makes their story compelling so you can improve your own personal narrative. 

2. Create a spikeview profile that demonstrates everything you’re doing.

Every one of us needs to be ready to talk about our interests and experiences in a way that’s memorable, just like those TED Talkers.

The spikeview platform was designed to help you develop your personal narrative, build a network, and get the opportunities that fit you best. We don’t sell your personal data, and the platform is completely free to use.

Colleges are already using spikeview to evaluate students! You don’t want to miss out on this. It’s the key to having a competitive edge when you’re presenting yourself to colleges. Artists and athletes can also create amazing portfolios on spikeview.

When the time comes to submit applications, you’ll simply add your customized spikeview link as supplemental information. The admissions officers are just a click away from getting to know your complete story.

screen caps from spikeview portfolio

3. Schedule fun time on your calendar.

You’re under so much pressure to keep up grades and internships that it can be hard to find time for fun. Being overworked takes a toll on both your physical and mental health. 

Treat fun time like an appointment that you can’t miss. Photography, yoga, basketball, baking – whatever it is, add it to your calendar. It’ll be so much easier for you to maintain healthy habits of rest and relaxation if you begin when you’re young. 

What does this have to do with college applications? Everything! The direct benefits of rest and relaxation make you a stronger candidate in the eyes of admissions officers. 

And of course, you’re going to journal about the smile-generating activities and add some to your spikeview experiences.

4. Get advice from professionals who are working in areas that align with your interests.

This is more than just “engineering student seeks engineering mentor.” 

  • Look through the notes in your journal and the interests you’ve documented in spikeview. 
  • Get creative with your internet searches by including something academic (civil engineering) with something fun (drone photography). 
  • Interview three people working in the academic field and three people working in the fun field. 

It shouldn’t take long to identify and contact professionals. Most will be more than happy to schedule a video call with a high school student curious about their profession. 

find mentors working in your areas of interest

You’ll get two huge benefits from this exercise. First, you’ll get a clearer idea of your career options. This could reinforce or completely change your college plans, so take it seriously. Second, you’ll have a list of potential internships. Once these professionals have established a rapport with you, they’ll be much more likely to consider you for employment. Colleges love to see applicants who are already working in a field of interest. 

One last thing…

Sharing ideas with other high school students makes college prep so much more pleasant. As you meet teens from around the world on spikeview, ask how they’re planning for the college application process. Learn from each other and make new friends. 

4 steps to follow before filling out college applications