9 basic elements of a complete college application

10 basic elements of a complete college application


When tackling the college admissions process, it’s important to have a good understanding of the elements of a traditional, complete application. After all, a well-rounded application is incredibly important for sharing a holistic reflection of your talents, passion to learn and drive to succeed!

Here is a quick overview of what your college application could include.

1. Official Transcript/Class Rank

This is an opportunity to accurately show your course rigor and how you managed the workload and intensity amongst peers.

2. Writing Sample/Statement of Purpose

Why do you want to go to college? While some colleges and universities will provide you with a prompt or standard of expectation, this is your opportunity to let your unique personality shine.

3. Letters of Recommendation

Having two or three community leaders and/or mentors write you a letter of recommendation is a great way to show the positive impact you have made in your community through a different perspective. Try to only ask the people who know you best — a teacher, coach, club advisor or even a youth pastor.

4. List of Extracurricular Activities

This includes clubs, sports, student council, etc. Were you a leader in any of these areas? Note that in your application!

5. Community Service/Outside Learning Opportunities

Were you on a travel athletic team in addition to your high school team? Note that. Did you take care of puppies on the weekend? Note that. Big brother? Big sister? Note everything. Community service and outside learning opportunities are a great way to show your commitment to well-rounded personal development.

6. Awards and Recognition

Were you voted MVP? Class president? Most likely to succeed? Don’t be afraid to brag on yourself — let the admissions people know how your hard work has been recognized.

7. Note Diversity (if applicable)

Colleges are always striving to increase their diversity on campus. If your culture is important to you, let them know!

8. Prepare for an Interview

As an intention to get to know applicants on a more personal and professional level, some colleges or universities may request an interview prior to making an acceptance decision. To better understand what a college requires, be sure to contact their admissions department.

9. Standardized Test Scores (if applicable!)

Most colleges accept standardized test scores from either the SAT, ACT or AP exams. However, every college is different in terms of what is required. At Marymount, for example, the University recently adopted a test-optional policy for all applicants to promote a holistic review of applications.