College Application Process
How can I get information about colleges/programs?
Students and parents can get information about colleges from several sources. There are several websites that allow you to search for schools based on various criteria, which can be found in our "Links" section under Post-Secondary Planning Links. You can also search for information on colleges in the Guidance Office. We have hundreds of books, and we also have a large lateral filing cabinet full of college information!
Where do I get an application?
Colleges and universities maintain Internet websites that allow users to request, download, or print information and applications. Most institutions offer online applications, and many prefer that students apply directly through the website, with application fees charged to major credit cards. For most schools, you may also opt to submit a paper application.
Official transcripts and other supporting documents, as described in the " Submitting Applications" section below, are required and usually must be forwarded by regular mail to the college or university. Because we do not know when you apply online, please make sure to visit the Guidance Office after you have submitted your application online and request that your transcript be mailed.
How can I get more information from a college?
Admissions offices accept email and telephone requests for information and materials, and many provide toll-free numbers.
Is there information in the Guidance Office?
The Guidance Office has a supply of postcards that students may use specifically to request college viewbooks and paper applications by mail, and a limited supply of paper application forms may also be available in the Guidance Office files. The file cabinet with this information is located directly to your left when you enter the Guidance Office door.
What are College Fairs?
College fairs provide good opportunities to obtain applications and other information directly from representatives. Please contact the DHS Guidance Office for information about any local college fairs.
What is the Common Application?
This term refers to a universal, or "Common Application", used by many colleges and universities across the country. This application only needs to be completed once and can then be submitted to multiple colleges/universities. Not all colleges and universities participate in the "Common Application", so confirm a school's acceptance of the "Common Application" before submitting it. Visit http://www.commonapp.org for a list of schools that accept this application.
After I complete the application, what do I do next?
If you complete a paper application, please bring the application directly to the Guidance Office and give it to one of the counselors or to the secretary. If you are submitting your application online, please come to the Guidance Office and request that your transcript be sent through the mail.
What else should I bring to the Guidance Office with my paper application?
All attachments, including application fee checks, should be submitted with the paper application so the application and supporting materials may be mailed as a packet and arrive together at the intended college. Be sure to alert the counselor or secretary to each school's deadline for receiving applications!
What is on my transcript?
Transcripts mailed with applications are official (that is, imprinted with the school seal) and include: SAT scores received by DHS to date, the most recent class rank and grade point average, final course grades and credits earned since entering ninth grade, and high school activities reported by the student in previous years. Official transcripts cannot be hand-carried or hand-delivered by students or parents to intended recipients .
What about letters of recommendation? Do I need them?
Letters of recommendation should be brought to the Guidance Office if you want them to be mailed with applications. If you are seeking recommendations from teachers, advisors, coaches, counselors, or administrators, be sure to give them plenty of advance notice when asking for the letters. Some colleges require letters of recommendation and some only recommend them, so be sure to read the application carefully.
Do I have to write an essay?
Personal essays or autobiographical statements are required on some college applications and are optional on others. Even when optional, they represent important opportunities to favorably impress an admissions committee, especially if an interview has not been possible. If you include supplemental or separate pages, be certain they are neat, clean, and legible, and that each extra attachment contains your name; it is also helpful to clearly label the content or purpose of such extra pages.
Can I submit my application late?
Adhere to application deadlines and submit materials early ! Applications should never be brought to the Guidance Office on the day they are due. Submit all materials well in advance of postmark deadlines and inform the counselor or secretary of deadline dates at submission!
How will I know if the college has received my application and other materials?
A record is maintained in the Guidance Office of transcript mailings for each student, including the name and address of the intended recipient, date the transcript was sent, and the date of acceptance (when applicable). A stamped and pre-addressed confirmation postcard is mailed with transcripts/applications for return to Donegal High School by the college upon receipt of the transcript and accompanying materials.
Now that I've applied, I can relax and take it easy for the rest of my senior year, right?
No, keep those grades up! Many colleges request mid-year grades. When colleges inform students that their mid-year grades are needed, students should notify the Guidance Office immediately so this important information can be sent as soon as it is available. After the final grades are posted for the Fall Semester, the cumulative GPA and Class Rank are re-calculated for each grade level. As soon as the revised mid-year GPA and Class Rank are available, they are recorded as the official rank and average on student applications, transcripts, and supporting documents.
- Prior to a scheduled visitation , you must complete a "Request For College Visitation" form. Copies can be obtained from the link below, in the Main Office from Mrs. Hackman, the Attendance Secretary or the Career Resource Center. This form must be completed, signed by a parent, and returned to the office to be approved by the principal or assistant principal.
- You must have a parent accompany you on the college visitation.
- While on the visit, you will have a college representative sign a form indicating that you visited on that particular day.
- When you return to school, the form signed by the college representative must be returned to the Attendance Secretary so that the absence is considered "excused".
- Students are permitted to be excused up to three (3) days during their junior year and three (3) days during their senior year for college visitations.
College Admissions Testing
How do I know which tests I need to take?
As you consider potential colleges, you should determine which admissions tests are required by those schools. Tests should be taken at least six weeks prior to the application deadline of a school requiring the score.
Do I need to take both the SAT and the ACT?
Most schools in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States prefer the College Board's SAT Reasoning Test in evaluating a student's potential for success in college. Many schools in the Western U.S. prefer the ACT (American College Testing) program. Some colleges require one test over the other. On-line registration is preferred for these tests and may be accessed through each testing organization's web address:
What are the SAT Subject Tests?
A number of schools also require the College Board's SAT Subject Tests (formerly called the SAT II). Results from these tests may be used in making admissions decisions, but generally are used in placing accepted students at appropriate levels in the school's curriculum. Pay special attention to testing requirements of each school you consider!
How do I register for the SAT?
SAT test dates and registration deadlines are listed on the College Board's website. Online registration is preferred, and it is the best way to know whether or not you have been assigned to the test center you requested! Printed materials for mail-in registration are shipped to the Guidance Office and available to students by mid-August. (Paper registration forms and accompanying fees must be mailed directly to the SAT and/or ACT Programs; they are not collected by the school.)
What is Donegal's CEEB code?
What should I do when I have been accepted by a college?
Students should notify the Guidance Office when they have been informed of admissions decisions by the colleges to which they have applied. We share your excitement about acceptances, want to lobby for you when your application is put on hold or if a decision is deferred, and certainly want to support you if you are not admitted. When you decide which offer of admission to accept, your commitment to that college should be reported to the Guidance Office so your final transcript can be mailed in June.
Should I notify all of the colleges I applied to if I have accepted admission somewhere else?
As a courtesy to the other colleges where applications have been sent (and to the candidates who may be on waiting lists for those colleges!), you should notify each school of your intentions when a commitment has been made to another school.