Once you’ve narrowed down your list of top-choice schools, based on your criteria, and prioritized the list in order of preference, the next step is to get organized! This means making note of the requirements for each school, and very importantly, the deadlines for each aspect of the application.
Every school does things differently, so you really need to pay close attention to what they ask for and when. Some schools use the Common Application or other platforms such as Slide Room or Get Accepted. They may have separate guidelines and deadlines for early action or early decision (they are not the same thing).
Make a separate file for each school with the link to the application page and all requirements and deadlines. Create a timeline for completing all the applications, and make sure to put aside enough time to do a good job applying. One college application could take as little as a few hours, or as much as 30-40 hours of your time to complete. Since every school is different, you want to understand fully what will be required for each application early in the process.
Most schools require an essay or essays, letters of recommendation, and some kind of music portfolio. This means you may need to make some recordings or videos, which can take time as well. You will most likely need to schedule an audition, too. Make a list of who will provide your letters of recommendation and start asking them if they are willing to write you a letter.
Filling out the forms carefully will also take time and care, and you might need help from your parents, especially for inputting the financial information. Most schools consider applicants for financial aid automatically, so you won’t need to file a separate application, though you will need to fill out the Federal forms required by all, known as the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
If you run into problems, contact the school admissions office directly. You can also work with a College Consultant or Counselor at your school who can assist with filling out the forms and help guide you through the essay writing and creation of portfolio materials.
Applying to college can feel like an overwhelming chore, but I recommend you approach it with curiosity, real interest, and enthusiasm. This is about your music and career, so try to make it fun if possible. Get excited about your prospects and you’ll likely do a better job of presenting yourself.
Above all, be your authentic self. Be patient, thorough, and diligent throughout the college application process, and be sure to always put your best foot forward. All this will increase your likelihood of multiple acceptance.