College Applications 101


Seniors, we made it! It’s the last year of high school, and we are so close to the finish line that we can taste it. As least, we thought we could.

As homework piles up on your desk and classes become harder and harder by the second, we are also burdened with college applications, financial aid, scholarships and our future in general. Scared even more now? Don’t be, because I’m here to give you tips and tricks about college applications to have one less thing to worry about during your last year at Morton Ranch High School. 

  1. Decide what you want to major in. What interests you at school? Are there subjects that you wish to advance a career in the future? If you can’t decide it’s okay, you can always go as undecided in college then pick a major later, but I highly recommend you pick a major now. That way if you get accepted for it when you first apply to a college, you wouldn’t have to worry about it in the future while you live that college life. 
  2. Search all the colleges and universities you are interested in. Will it be in-state or out-of-state? Do they provide the major that you want to do? Would it be in a major city, like University of Texas at Austin, or in a smaller town, like the University of North Texas in Denton. Search up the environment and life at the college you’re interested in and see if it’s right for you! You can also schedule a visit beforehand.
  3. If you are planning on applying to a Texas public university or college, then create an account on This account is used for students to apply to public schools in Texas only. If you are planning on applying to a private university, like Rice University and Baylor, or out-of-state, then create an account on or
  4. Make sure you have a good SAT or ACT score! Sign up for those tests and try to get a good score. There are resources to help you improve your score if you’re struggling to make the score you want.
  5. Find the essay prompts for your colleges and universities and start working on them right away. Once you’re done, give them to someone to edit it, like an English teacher. Try to find at least two people to edit it and give you their input and opinion before you submit it. 
  6. Start working on your application! Answer all the questions, fill out all of the forms, attach your essay, pay the application fee, then submit your application. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  7. Within two weeks, you should receive a login from the college you applied to. Once you login, be sure to check what’s left to submit to your college.
  8. Request your official high school transcript. You can do this at the registrar or through Naviance. If you are requesting your transcripts for out-of-state or private colleges you will have to pay $2, but if it’s for in-state public colleges then it’s free.
  9. Once you’ve submitted all needed documents for the college you are applying to then just sit back and wait for a decision to come. This will vary depending on the school and when you submit your final application.
  10. While you wait for a decision, start to apply for scholarships. Create an account on or and start applying for the scholarships you are interested in.
  11. Once October 1 rolls around, be sure to submit your FAFSA on, or TAFSA if you identify as DACA or undocumented. This is extremely important and do it as soon as possible. You never know what you might be offered when it comes to financial aid.
  12. Decide on a college and accept financial aid by May 1. Once you’re all set, you will apply for student orientation and housing at the college of your choice.
  13. Finally, send your final high school transcript to the college of your choice at the end of the year.

College and applications are a very stressful part of every student’s senior year, but don’t let that get in the way of your last year in high school. 

Make a list of the top five colleges you want to go, check the application deadline, and start working on it now, not later. Even though this decides your immediate future and the world may feel like it’s exploding, don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from parents, older siblings or teachers. 

If you have any more questions, please reach out to the Morton Ranch’s college advisor, Mr. Ward. His room is no. 1527 (counselor’s suite) and his email is [email protected]. His twitter page is @AdviseMrhs.

If you and your parents need help with FAFSA or TASFA, Mr. Ward will be hosting a step-by-step assistance with how to fill it out on October 2 from 5:30 to 7 pm in the computer lab, room 1623. 

Don’t let this get in the way of your senior year, Mavs! Get this done as soon as possible and be sure to live out your last year at the Ranch.