Student with stack of books in front
Now is the time you’ve been waiting for; the time to decide what you want to be when you “grow up.” Well, sort of – if you’re thinking about higher education, you may be considering college or trade school to earn a degree or diploma in a specialized field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2012, 66.2 percent of 2012 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities.

If you are one of the students who comprise this majority, then you are probably already thinking about the college application process. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Sending Your App To A Private College Or University
There is sometimes a cost (about $35-$50) involved with applying to a college or university, although some schools will allow you to apply for free. Also, making a trip to apply in person could save you the application fee – and make an impression – according to U.S. News.

The personal essay is one of the most talked-about portions of the college application. Here is a fun anecdote from Heather Long of The Guardian“One admissions counselor told me that his favorite personal essay of all time was by a young woman who wrote about working at Dunkin’ Donuts for the summer. She described several of her favorite ‘regulars’ who would come in daily – what they ordered and how she interacted with them. It was a funny piece, but it also showed how she handled tough situations, and it almost read like a psychology paper on these various characters in her town.”

Sending Your App To Community College Or Trade School
Applying to a community college or vocational school typically is a less-involved process, although it will still require some research. Oftentimes you can apply for free – but it really depends upon what your schooling interest is.

The websites US News and College Board offer additional information on the college app process and financial details, although there are many other resources as well. Check out the other articles in this section for more information.