College Application Basics

Colleges/Universities keep an application file with all information they receive on each applicant. Allow yourself time, plan ahead, and be organized and thorough in everything you do for the applications. Your goal should be to complete applications to at least three schools by October 1st of your senior year. This means start in the summer. Pay close attention to details and plan far in advance as processing of documents may take considerable time.

Juniors will learn the details of the college application process with a timeline and goals for each step during our annual College Application Workshop in the Spring. The general application process is as follows; students should also use the application checklist from the prospective college.

1 – Create Your College Resume: Junior Year

All students should complete a college resume prior to beginning any college applications. The resume should display how the student has spent his/her time during high school. Juniors complete a resume in class using recommended templates and update as needed for their college applications.

2 – Write Application Essays: Early Summer

Obtain the application essay topics from the application and write, edit, rewrite, and perfect prior to completing the application. Save the essays in a word document for future use. Complete any “optional” essays in addition to required essays. Cut and paste the final version of your essay into the online application.

3 –Request Letters of Recommendation: End of Junior Year

Personally ask two MCA teachers of core subjects to write a letter of recommendation for your college admission and provide a copy of your resume to each one. The academic counselor provides a recommendation letter for every student who submits his/her resume. MCA faculty upload their letters into Naviance, making it available to send with every transcript for your applications. If you are using the Common App, the student must also ask the teacher and counselor to complete the Common App Teacher Evaluation Form in Naviance. Always allow up to two weeks for letters to be prepared and follow up with a note of gratitude.

4 – Submit College Applications: July – October 1 Senior Year

Visit the admissions page on the college website to determine application method is preferred. Complete the appropriate online application, taking your time to complete it to the best of your ability. You can save and return to it later to continue working on it. Do not “submit” until you have completed the essays, all activity information, and thoroughly reviewed all the information.
  • for TX public universities and many private colleges in Texas.
  • for many other public and private colleges and universities around the country.
  • For colleges/universities not accepting one of the above common applications, complete the online application available on the college/university website.

5 –Submit Transcript Requests: Following Application Submission

Students mark all college applications and request all transcripts for admission or scholarships through Naviance. Transcripts may not be requested by phone call or e-mail for current students. Documents are submitted electronically to all colleges accepting electronic submission; any others are shipped via UPS. Please allow one week after all items are received for the transcript package to be submitted.
Transcript packages may include:
Counselor Letter of Recommendation
MCA School Profile
Your college resume
Your senior schedule of classes
Any recommendation letters submitted
TX Private School Certification Form for public universities in Texas

6 –Confirm the Receipt of Your Application Items

Call the Admissions Office or check the online application status one week after the transcript package was submitted to confirm their receipt and determine if they need any other items for your admissions file.

7 – Share Your Admissions Decisions

When you receive your admissions decision letter(s)/e-mails bring a copy to the Counselor! We will celebrate your acceptances with you AND/OR we’ll help you prepare an appeal to a waiting list decision or denial, if desired.

8 – Express Your Gratitude

Thank those who worked on your behalf with personal thank you notes and share your plans with them.