Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to go to college. Yes, there are many things to do and decisions to make, but with a little guidance, you’ll be on your way to earning your college degree.

You might be wondering if earning a college degree is really worth it – and the answer to that is yes! Over time, you’ll earn more money in your career than you would without a degree. The exact return on your college investment depends on a multitude of factors such as your college, major, career and experience level, and some careers have a higher ROI than others – such as pilots, air traffic controllers and mechanical engineers.

To help you navigate the process and stay on track, we have outlined a college admission requirements list. Hey, we already know you’re smart. Now it’s time to work smarter—not harder. So, check out this list and feel satisfied when you check things off the list!

Make a list of your reach, match and safety colleges

Now is the time to do your homework. You must now decide which colleges are on your list of safety, match and reach schools which are defined below. But don’t worry too much – your high school guidance department can help you with this, so don’t hesitate to tap into their expertise and connections. They can help you explore your options and make realistic selections based on your interests.

  • Safety colleges—With a “safety college” or institution, you have an 80 percent chance or higher of being accepted, based on your grade point average (GPA) and SAT or ACT scores. It’s important to note that there are no guarantees of acceptance to these schools. The best you can do is compare your grades and scores to the student body average.
  • Match college—A “match college” or institution is one where your GPA and scores fall within range of the college’s typical freshman class.
  • Reach college—The most difficult category, a “reach college” or institution is where your academic performance is below the 25th percentile of those admitted to the college.

Tip: Although most students will apply to their safety and match colleges, it’s important to include reach colleges on your list as well. Always give it your best shot. You honestly never know!

Apply to your top college picks

You can save time by applying to your colleges via the Common App which allows you to fill out one application and send it to several colleges that accept it. Below are a few things to do and consider as you work through the application process.

  • Confirm early decision/early action and regular application deadlines.
  • Confirm if an admissions exam is required. If it is, be sure to take the exam and arrange to have the scores sent to the college.
  • Take any other required exams, such as AP or IB.
  • Request recommendation letters and make sure you receive them in time for your application deadlines. (Be sure to also send “thank you” notes to those who wrote letters on your behalf.)
  • Draft your essay and proofread it for spelling and grammar. Then, ask two people to review it with fresh eyes and make all necessary revisions.
  • Request high school transcripts. (Note: A midyear grade report may also be sent.)
  • Complete the entire application.
  • Sign and send your application.
  • Make copies of each completed application for your college file.
  • Tour the campuses of as many colleges as possible.
  • Schedule campus interviews.
  • Talk to people who have attended (or currently attend) the schools you are interested in – hearing first-hand what a school is like is the absolute best way to learn and discover if it’s the right place for you.
  • Vaughn College also has a few admissions perks:
    • Vaughn is a college with rolling admissions, which means you can apply anytime throughout the year and be accepted for the upcoming semester, so you don’t ever need to worry about missing an admission deadline.
    • Vaughn participates in the Common Application (or Common App) which means you can fill out one application that can be sent to many schools on your list.

Apply for financial aid

Attending college can be the best years of your life, but they don’t come free! That’s why it’s important to apply for financial aid early and explore any scholarships, grants or government aid you may qualify for. Here are the steps to take to apply for financial aid:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA®). (Check out our blog for great information and helpful tips on completing the FAFSA.)
  • Confirm priority financial aid deadline.
  • Confirm regular financial aid deadline.
  • Submit a college aid form, if needed.
  • Submit a state aid form, if needed.

And, you’re not alone – 90 percent of Vaughn students are eligible for some type of financial assistance, so don’t miss out on an important opportunity to help fund your education.

Navigating the acceptance process

Waiting can be one of the hardest parts of the acceptance process. Here are some important things you can do to fill the time:

  • Follow up with your colleges to make sure they received your application materials.
  • Advise your guidance counselor that you applied – they can help you throughout the process.

Receiving notification of college acceptance

Receiving the news of your college acceptance is one of the most momentous days in a student’s life.

Here is what to expect:

  • A letter of acceptance from the office of admissions comes first.
  • A financial aid award letter comes after.

If accepted, here is what to do next:

  • Accept admission to the college of your choice by the deadline.
  • Send any required deposits.
  • Accept financial aid offer.

Why you should earn a college degree

Earning a college degree is not about just investing in your future—it’s about investing in yourself. The return on investment (ROI) is greater than you may have imagined. Here are just some of the reasons why earning a college degree is a pathway to a bright future:

  • Higher salary—College graduates can earn nearly $800,000 more in increased earnings over a lifetime compared to those who don’t have a degree.
  • Excellent job placement rate—Those with a college degree are less likely to be unemployed over time. Did you know that 92 percent of Vaughn graduates—76 percent in their chosen fields—are employed or continue their education within one year? Vaughn guarantees its students will graduate with a job.
  • In-demand, stable career fields—Vaughn graduates, for example, earn degrees in futureproof fields that are not only in-demand but have longevity in the industries they serve.

We hope that this checklist will shed new light on the college application process. Vaughn offers futureproof degree programs in some of today’s most in-demand fields such as engineering and technology, management and aviation. Our application process is simple and convenient. Apply today!

Wishing you all the best for a successful future!