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How to Apply for College While Using Technology to Help

March 9, 2021 • Devin Partida

Submitting your college applications will undoubtedly be among the most important tasks of your life as a young adult. Getting into college paves the way for you to study the subjects that interest you and set the stage for your future career.                 

Many people become incredibly anxious about the process. They put themselves under extraordinary pressure and often fixate on what’s ahead rather than paying attention to what they can control and influence now. 

You can apply for college while keeping a level head, balanced perspective and positive attitude. Technology can make these goals easier to achieve. Here are some valuable tips for success. 

1. Use the Common App to Streamline How You Apply

The appropriately named Common App saves users massive amounts of time when filling out applications. Hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States use it — as well as some in other countries. 

The idea is that you only have to fill out details you’d include on every application — such as your name, address and educational history — one time. After that, every school you apply for that uses the Common App sees that information.

 As you learn more about how to apply for college with the Common App, keep in mind that the most updated version comes out every year on August 1. However, you can download and start using the app at any time and transfer your details to the latest version after its release. 

2. Create a College Application Spreadsheet

Once you start submitting applications, it can be difficult to remember what happened with all of them and whether you need to take further action. However, making a spreadsheet to show the status of everything helps you stay on track. 

You could also apply a color-coded system. For example, green could indicate that you got accepted, while red could mean you’re still waiting to hear back. Yellow might remind you that a school needs further action from you before more progress can happen. 

Give yourself enough time to come up with an approach that works well for you. A well-designed spreadsheet helps you quickly verify each application’s specifics and know whether you need to act. 

3. Investigate Virtual Visit Apps

Visiting a university campus is an excellent way to get an idea of whether you’d fit in well there and enjoy your experience. However, going there in person is not always feasible due to timing, your budget or other challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic canceled many campus visits, but it also created opportunities for companies that make virtual campus visit apps. 

One version for students interested in North Carolina universities lets people visit 16 campuses via virtual reality (VR). A similar choice exists for educational institutions in Mississippi. A site called You Visit offers more than 600 virtual tours that people can see with VR gear or by using 360-degree immersive and interactive images. 

These options can’t replace every experience you’d get from being on campus. However, they’re great possibilities if you feel that distance might otherwise prevent you from getting interested in a particular university. 

4. Download Apps to Capture Useful Thoughts and Ideas

While you’re engrossed in how to apply for college in the most effective ways, consider downloading voice recognition and note-taking apps. You may have noticed that some of the most brilliant ideas come to you when you least expect — such as while you’re washing the dishes or walking your dog.

When a tidbit pops into your head about a situation you might describe on your admissions essay or how you could pay for college, use the app to record that revelation. It could prove valuable later, even if in a raw, unfinished format. 

People who are under pressure often find that they have fantastic ideas and can’t recall them later. Downloading a few apps — particularly cloud-based ones — could prevent that frustrating possibility. 

5. See If Your Shortlisted Universities Offer Chatbots

Wouldn’t it be great to have someone walk you through how to apply for college if any obstacles arise? Chatbots could offer the next best solution. 

Universities are increasingly relying on them to assist with the application process, plus things students need after they enroll and attend classes. For example, if you have a question about how to apply for financial aid or how to tackle a specific section of an application, the chatbot might have an answer, no matter the time of day when you ask it. 

One award-winning chatbot answers more than 1,000 questions per day from students and staff members. Some of the queries it understands could help people feel more organized as they get through their first few weeks of college. For example, you could ask the bot about your next class and its location. 

6. Try a Meditation App

People who practice meditation often become familiar with the concept of equanimity. It means showing psychological composure, even as external events threaten to fluster you. The tips offered here so far will help you understand how to apply for college with tech tools. However, you’ll still likely deal with things that make you get upset. 

Perhaps you’ll learn that your best friend got accepted to their top-choice college, but you didn’t — despite putting in your most dedicated efforts. You can and should work to make things turn out in your favor during a college search. However, disappointing events will still happen. 

Using a meditation app while applying for college could teach you useful skills to support better overall well-being. For example, you could learn to use your breath as an anchor during stressful situations or get tips for letting distressing thoughts pass swiftly from your mind instead of allowing them to overtake you. 

Implement Technology Wisely While Applying for College

Technology can certainly relieve much of the stress that people feel as they apply for college. However, if you decide to avail of it, do so with purpose.

For example, you could easily spend hours taking virtual tours of campuses with no intention of attending them. These tips provide ideas of how you could use technology well as a university applicant, but you could still let tech tools become distractions. 

Allow time to get used to your chosen apps and other technologies. If you find they help, keep using them. Otherwise, realize that it may work better for you to do things the old-fashioned way. 

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