Valley Lutheran prepares students academically, socially, and spiritually for the next chapters in their lives. We are here to support your family as you determine what that next chapter might be and as you start taking the necessary steps to get there. The college application process can feel daunting for many families but the VLHS Guidance Office is here to walk with you through each step of the process whenever you need help.
The College Application Process
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Consider what you want to do as a career, and find schools that are the best at training you to do that career.
- Not sure on a career? Check out ACT Profile for career inventories and ideas.
- Create a list of potential colleges. Visit, research, meet with college reps as they visit VL, and talk with friends and family members.
- Need help researching? Check out CollegeBoard’s Big Future website.
- Narrow down that list to 3-4 colleges, including a safety school, a couple good fits, and a reach school. (You never know until you apply!)
You are encouraged to print out the College Application Timeline (provided by CollegeBoard) as a great resource to keep you organized and on track!
September/October of senior year – prepare!
- Application Essay – this is your chance to tell your story, to make yourself stand out, to share why you are a good fit for that school.
- SAT or ACT Testing – consider taking the exam one more time. (See the Testing page for more information.)
- Recommendation Letters – ask your teachers in person for a letter of recommendation. Give your teachers enough time to write a quality letter. It is helpful to complete a Brag Sheet for them to reference.
- Start the FAFSA – if you plan on making use of any type of financial aid, you are required to file a FAFSA (opens October 1st). Gentlemen – you must also register with Selective Services on your 18th birthday to receive financial aid!
November/December of senior year – apply!
- Complete college applications – be cautious of binding early decision applications and deadlines for individual schools – they can vary greatly!
- Print out the College Application Checklist (provided by CollegeBoard) to keep everything organized!
- Request transcripts to be sent – the only way VL knows to send your transcript is for you to request them to be sent via Parchment or through our Transcript Request Form.
- Send your SAT, ACT, and AP scores – these will traditionally come from ACT or CollegeBoard, though they can be included on your transcript when sent from VLHS. Check with each college for what they will accept as “official”.
January/February of senior year – finance!
- Compare award letters – after comparing scholarships and financial aid from individual schools, you may find a school that is more affordable than you initially thought.
- Search and apply for scholarships – check out various community resources for outside scholarships and grants.
- Don’t forget about the VLHS Scholarship Page where we list all postings that come to the Guidance Office!
March/April of senior year – decide!
- Review your acceptance letters – look them over carefully and compare schools to find the best fit.
- Ask questions or visit – if you are still unsure, schedule another visit and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Request final transcripts to be sent – these are sent out after graduation only to the school you plan on attending.
Scholarships and Financial Aid Information
An up-to-date listing of scholarships can be found at http://bit.ly/VLScholarships.
All students who wish to receive Financial Aid for the 2019-2020 school year must complete the FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. (Go to https://fsaid.ed.gov to set up your FSA ID.)