How Long Does it Take to Apply to College

As we’ve discussed previously, the college application process begins freshmen year when you select classes and begin participating in extracurricular activities. But when you sit down and actually think about the application process, how long does it take to apply to college? The time consuming steps of actually applying for college don’t begin until you are an upperclassmen. Plan ahead now and save stress later. Here’s what you need to know.

Testing (40-60 hours)

The SAT or ACT are standardized tests which measure your college readiness on a scale compared to other students taking the exam. In normal circumstances students are required to take one test and submit their scores. Many schools are temporarily waiving this requirement due to Coronavirus. Taking the test itself only requires a few hours. However, to properly prepare for these exams may take months. Study everyday and take practice exams. When all is said and done, this takes a few hours every week.

College Visits and Research (20-30 hours)

By the time you are a junior, your list of colleges should narrow. You’ve thought about what you  want in a college and have a manageable list to work from. You’re closely following their websites and social media channels. And you will even visit them in person before applying to get a feel for the campus.

The Essay (20-30 hours)

Writing the essay for college applications is critically important. You need to choose an essay prompt, brainstorm answers, write a first draft, edit, re-write, let someone else edit, re-write again, and proofread multiple times.

Everything Else (20-30 hours)

Your application will include a letter of recommendation, additional essays, and financial aid information. If you’re organized and focused, this will be manageable. If you’ve waited until the last minute to complete this information, you’ll need help. Essays take time to write. So do good letters of recommendation. And the FAFSA is complicated. Prepare and plan ahead.

To return to our original question—how long does it take to apply for college? One hundred to 150 hours under the best of circumstances. Manage your time and the stress of college applications. Work with one of Accolade Financial’s college counselors today.