Application Process Timeline and Checklist
Application Process Begins with Research
Visit the website of the school your are applying for more information about the application process.
Utica Community Schools uses Naviance Student as our College and Career readiness platform. It is an amazing tool for helping students to organize and manage their college search and application process. Parents also receive their own Naviance Student login so that they can monitor that the college application process is staying on track.
Students use their regular school username and password to access Naviance.
Student Guide Naviance Student.pdf
For parent login information to the Naviance platform, email our Career Development Facilitator, DYANN.PUGLIESE@UticaK12.org
Parent Guide Naviance Student.pdf
Sending Transcripts to Non-Common App Schools
Naviance Student College Application Process Reference Guide.pdf
Application Process For Common App Schools
October is Michigan College Month
Michigan College Month is a national and state-wide campaign with the aim of giving every high school senior the support, information, and encouragement needed to take three important steps toward their future:
- Apply to at least one college during October.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) when it becomes available on October 1st.
- Complete at least one scholarship application during October.
To get ready to complete the FAFSA in October, students and at least one parent should apply for an FSA ID now. More details about the FAFSA and other financial aid can be found on our Financial Assistance page
How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?
Students who apply to more schools typically end up being accepted to schools with better graduation rates and receiving better financial aid packages than students who apply to just one school. "Four or more" is an often mentioned guideline when it comes to college applications.
It is generally advised that students apply to colleges as follows:
Safety Schools: Apply to 1-3 schools where your academic credentials (GPA and SAT or ACT score) fall well above the school’s range for the average freshman. You can be reasonably certain that you will be admitted to your safety schools.
Match Schools: Apply to 1-3 schools where your academic credentials (GPA and SAT or ACT score) match the school’s range for the average freshman. There are no guarantees, but it’s not unreasonable to be accepted to several of your match schools.
Reach Schools: Apply to 1-3 schools where your academic credentials (GPA and SAT or ACT score) fall below the school’s range for the average freshman. Reach schools are long shots, but you may get lucky! Even for students with perfect GPA and perfect SAT or ACT scores, any college with an admission rate below 20% should go on the reach list. Click here for a list of colleges with the lowest acceptance rates. UCS students often are accepted to colleges on this low acceptance rate list, but these schools are still categorized as "reaches" to put the difficulty of admission into proper perspective.
These are just general guidelines, and students can apply to more schools or fewer schools depending upon the time and resources they have available.
Application Guide for Families
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) offers a wonderful Guide to the College Admissions Process.
Important sections to check out are:
- Admission terms and processes (regular decision, early decision, early action, rolling admissions, etc.)
- Application outcomes (dealing with deferrals, wait-listing, rejection letters, etc.)
- Advice for obtaining teacher and counselor letters of recommendation
NACAC also maintains a website that offers helpful information for students. Students are encouraged to check out the "Learn" tab.
Some colleges use their own applications. Those can be found on the website for each college on the Admission page. The Michigan College Guide is a great place to find lists of the colleges in Michigan, their website addresses, and other great information.
Other colleges use either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Learn more about those applications below.
The Common Application
The Common Application is accepted by more than 822 colleges and universities. This application can save students a lot of time. Students complete one application and can easily send it to multiple schools.
This requirements grid shows the exact requirements for each school (number of teacher recommendations required, whether a counselor letter is required, whether supplemental essays are required, application deadlines, etc.)
Find out more about common app schools: http://www.commonapp.org/
Michigan Schools Using The Common App
- Lawrence Tech
- Michigan State
- Spring Arbor
- University of Detroit Mercy
- University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
- University of Michigan-Flint
- Wayne State University
- Western Michigan University
Requesting a Letter of Recommendation in Naviance Student
Book Recommendation: Write Out Loud: Use the Story To College Method, Write Great Application Essays, and Get into Your Top Choice College by Carol Barash
Website Recommendation: Top 10 Tips for Writing a College Essay
Website Recommendation: College Essay Guy Free Resources
Website Recommendation: Johns Hopkins Essays That Worked
Admission Trends Survey
Every few years The National Association for College Admission Counseling conducts an Admission Trends Survey to identify the factors that colleges consider most important in admission decisions for first-time freshmen. Here are the most recent survey results available (2015).
- Grades in College Prep Courses (AP, IB, Honors, Accelerated)
- Grades in All Courses
- Strength of Curriculum
- Admission Test Scores (SAT or ACT)
- Essay or Writing Sample
- Counselor Recommendation
- Student’s Demonstrated Interest in the College
- Teacher Recommendation
- Class Rank
- Subject Test Scores (AP, IB)
- Extracurricular Activities
- SAT Subject Test Scores
- State Graduation Exam Scores
Grade Point Average in UCS
To understand how Grade Point Average is calculated in UCS, click here.
Joyce Ivy Foundation
A non-profit organization committed to the academic advancement and leadership development of young women from the Midwest. The foundation offers amazing opportunities and scholarships.
QuestBridge is a national nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California, that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities.