College Admission Process
How to Apply to College
Most students submit their college applications ONLINE through the college's website. It is VERY important that students read the directions for this process carefully. Students should also frequently check their email after applying, as colleges frequently communicate with applicants through email.
Some colleges also accept what is called the Common Application. The Common App allows students to complete their basic personal information just one time and submit it to multiple colleges.
Many colleges require application fees when a student applies for admission. If you received a Fee Waiver from the Counseling Office when you took the SAT or ACT, see your counselor to find out if you can also have your college application fees waived!
- Colleges and post-secondary schools will ask you to send them your official high school transcript. Central York High School students and graduates must register with Parchment to have their transcripts sent. Students must also have a pink Consent to Release Transcript form on file in the guidance office before transcripts can be sent. Click the button on the right to access Parchment.
- Students who apply to Penn State do NOT need to use Parchment to request that their transcript is sent to PSU. This is done by the CYHS Counseling Office automatically through Penn State's Web Counselor System.
- Students who use the Common App to apply to multiple colleges should NOT order their transcripts to be sent to each of those colleges through Parchment. INSTEAD, these students should order their transcript to be sent to the Common App, which will ensure that it goes to all of those colleges.
Many colleges require letters of recommendation when students apply. Students should seek these letters from adults who know them well, such as teachers, coaches, and club sponsors. Students should ask these teachers if they will write letters AT LEAST THREE WEEKS before they need the letters completed. It is recommended that students give these adults the purple Request for Recommendation form that is found in the Counseling Office. It is also often helpful if the student gives these adults a listing of their activities while in high school, which they can list on the Student Resume form that is also found in the Counseling Office. If the student wants the Counseling Office to send letters of recommendation to colleges along with their transcript, the student should give these letters to the Counseling Office AT LEAST 5 DAYS before requesting their transcript in Parchment. An orange Request to Send Letter of Recommendation form should be used for this process.
Very often, colleges will ask students to write one or more essays to submit with their application. Students should make sure that they have several people read over their essays and make suggestions. Parents, teachers, and counselors are often very willing to help with this! (For ideas when writing the essay, see the ideas on this page: http://hs.cysd.k12.pa.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=3162042&pageId=3908803)
Finally, did you know that there is now a "Common Black College Application"? This application allows students to apply to 35 HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) at the same time for only $35. Interested students should learn more at www.eduinconline.com.
If you follow all of the steps listed above, you should have successfully completed the college application process!
Now all you can do is wait ... and, of course, work on FINANCIAL AID!
Factors in the Admission Process
College admissions representatives make tough decisions as they decide which students to accept into their freshman class each year. Here are a few things that they are GENERALLY looking for in an applicant:
- A transcript filled with CHALLENGING classes. Specific courses desired are:
- English - 4 years
- Mathematics - 3 or 4 years (including Algebra I, Geometry, Alg II)
- Foreign Language - 2 or more years (3 or more is desirable)
- Laboratory Science - 3 or more years (including Biology and Chemistry)
- Social Science - 2 or more years (including American, Global, Government)
- Electives - 3 or more additional academic course from the five course areas above
- Other courses, such as music, art, business and computer are valuable supplements to the courses previously listed, but shouldn't be chosen instead of college preparatory courses.
- Honors, Advanced Placement, and college courses - These courses demonstrate your ability to handle advanced work. Taking these indicates your willingness to accept a challenge. Selective admissions committees take special note of students with at least one advanced placement course on their transcript. This does not mean that you must take advanced placement courses to be admitted to a selective college.
- Fabulous grades. Your hard work will show in your cumulative GPA and class rank. If youwould like to see what your transcript looks like, see your school counselor.
- High scores on college admissions tests (either the SAT or ACT or both).
- Involvement in activities. They are interested in what you've done with your time: clubs, honor societies, competitions, sports, music, jobs, volunteer work. Not sure where to start? Sign up for a club in Flex Time Manager! Help out at your church! Volunteer in the community! Take part in a summer program! Why does involvement matter? Check out this article: http://www.nextstepu.com/should-you-join-a-club-in-high-school.art#.WGMlwLYrKHp
- Excellent personality and character. The true character of who you are will show through your terrific admissions essay, your dynamic interview, and the inspiring letters of recommendation that your teachers and coaches will write as they think about the reputation you have built in your high school years. Scroll down for resources on how to optimize each of these opportunities to highlight your strengths!
Students who wish to see the average GPA and test scores of students accepted to any specific college or university should see their counselor to learn how to find this information.
Writing Admissions Essays
In some circumstances, writing an excellent college admissions essay could make all of the difference between acceptance and disappointment.
According to The Princeton Review's Cracking College Admissions, "Admissions officers think of your essay as a little window into your personality. They also see it as evidence of how well you write, which is something they care about a great deal" (page 135).
For ideas and pointers about writing your admissions essays, check out these websites:
It can also help to read samples of great admissions essays. You can find some here:
Finally, there are a few things NOT to do in a college essay. Check out this article before you hit "SUBMIT":
Making a Great Impression
Whether you're shaking hands at a College Fair, meeting with an admissions rep in the high school guidance office, or having a formal admissions interview on campus, it's important to show the best of who you are.
Check out these tips for "How To Ace The Admissions Interview."
There are four main sources of financial aid that we recommend every family explore. Please click on each type of aid below for more details:
Refer to the PA Student Aid GUIDE for helpful details.
Please be sure to read the
More information about private scholarships can be found by clicking on Private Scholarships.
To see the list we maintain, click here: CYHS Scholarship List
Students and families may also find it helpful to access the Scholarship Guide
created by the York County Economic Alliance.
It is available at https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vSzd4J3We3OmzR_Y4cUQ_FCa29qCo-Ur1YLBIMdyRkvd1_4skfWp-UQRKiOjgkcYG1vLtHLuANsF_ev/pub.