Helpful Tips for the College Bound

~ From Your BMCHS Counselors ~

Ahhh!! It's Time To Apply For College! Now What?

We know that applying to college can be a grueling, overwhelming process for students. We're here to help! This flyer will provide helpful links for college search tools, resume building, essay tips, college visit guidance, and more! Check back regularly as we include helpful tidbits and factoids about the college admissions process.


- College Search & Planning Tools -

OK College Start - HS & College Planning Resource

College admissions, financial aid, and resource support for Oklahoma high school students and families.

Campus Reel - Online College Tours

"Our mission is to democratize the college search process for every student in the world, regardless of any geographic or financial limitations." Use this site to see real students give real tours and information about their college campus.

JLV College Counseling Resources

This is a new resource that has been highly recommended by HS counselors across the country. It is a completely free site full of resources and info for college and career planning. Scholarships, admission tips, college visits, and more!

College Xpress - The Ultimate College Search Tool

Not sure where to start? College Xpress is a free tool to help you search and discover colleges that are right for you. It is designed for high school students, so it is easy to navigate and tailored to your needs.

Big Future - College Planning Resource Guide

BigFuture™ by the College Board is a free, comprehensive website that guides families — step by step — in preparing for, finding and enrolling in college. At, you can:


- Applications -

The Common App

It's the Common App! This is the application used by many of our students (and over 700 universities!) to apply to multiple colleges through ONE application -- amazing! Any student can create an account and start exploring. Seniors can start submitting applications on August 1st of their senior year. Please visit your counselor for more information or attend one of our many workshops!


If you are applying to colleges outside of the Common App, you may be asked to submit your student records (transcript, immunization, school profile, etc). Parchment is your one stop shop for submitting these records quickly and efficiently. See your counselor if you need assistance!

Tips from The Department of Education

Here are some tips for completing college or career school applications:

  • Keep it real. Don’t exaggerate accomplishments or claim things that aren’t true.
  • Give letter-writers time. If you are asking teachers, coaches, or counselors for letters of recommendation, ask several weeks before the letters are due.
  • Beat the deadline. Reduce the chance your application will get lost in the shuffle: Submit it well before the deadline.
  • Apply online. It’s easier and faster.
  • Emphasize your uniqueness. Colleges like to have students with different viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences. If you can add to that mix, let them know.
  • Keep it clean online. Don’t have anything on your social media pages that you wouldn’t want a college admissions officer to see.
  • Submit one application for many schools. Some colleges and universities share common online applications. Once you complete the application for one school, you can submit copies of it to other schools. It saves a lot of time. Learn more about The Common Application.
  • Protect your hard work by keeping complete copies of everything you send to each school.



- FAFSA & CSS Profile -

FAFSA Application - Apply Now!

Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

FAFSA Guide - By Daily Worth

This is a helpful, concise resource for understanding and completing the FAFSA.

CSS Profile - Apply Now!

CSS Profile enables colleges and universities to see a true picture of a family’s financial need and supports the mission of making college affordable.


- Resumes -

ZeeMee - Bring Your Application To Life!

ZeeMee is the new way for students to bring their college application to life. Create a positive, professional social media page for colleges to see the best you! Lear more here.

USA Today - College

A step-by-step guide to the world's best resume.

Read Article


- Essays -

College Essay Guy

College Essay Guy is an AMAZING resource for writing a standout college admissions essay. Tons of free resources, along with 3 free hour-long workshops for brainstorming and compiling your thoughts for a stellar essay. He has compiled his "greatest hits" all on one page, the link is below:

Escape Essay Hell - Guide to Writing College Essays

As a professional writing coach, I help students, parents, counselors, teachers and others from around the world on these dreaded essays!
Learn about my in-person and online tutoring, editing, workshops, books, and online courses.


- Recommendation Letters -

Requesting Letters: Dos & Don'ts

As a high school student, there will come a time when you will need a letter of recommendation from a coach or faculty member. Following the appropriate steps will ensure you receive a glowing letter of recommendation in a timely manner. Not following the appropriate steps may result in a poor recommendation, a late recommendation, or no recommendation at all. Read on to learn more about the basics of requesting letters.


  • Request an appointment with your potential recommender ahead of time.
  • Provide a specific due date.
  • Allow 2-3 weeks for your recommender to submit their letter.
  • Request a letter from someone you currently interact with on an academic and/or professional level.
  • Express your appreciation for their time and willingness to write a letter for you.
  • Remind your potential recommender of significant, positive interactions that you have had in the past.
  • Provide the following: Résumé - Summary of strengths/weaknesses/goals - Summary of interests/abilities that you would like highlighted in your letter.
  • Allow two weeks before you provide a kind, friendly reminder to your recommender.
  • Provide an addressed and stamped envelope if you need them to mail your letter.
  • Write a thank you card to your recommender once they have completed your letter.


  • Wait until the last minute to request a letter.
  • Demand a letter from your potential recommender.
  • Become angry or rude if a potential recommender declines to write a letter for you.
  • Demand or dictate what the recommender should include in their letter.
  • Do not pester or rush your recommender.


  • Procrastination on your part is not an emergency on their part.
  • If someone declines your request for a letter, ask them if they would be willing to provide constructive criticism regarding their decision. Reflect on their feedback and ask for ways in which you can improve.
  • Let your recommender know if you plan to use their letter for multiple colleges, scholarships, leadership programs, and/or employment. This will help them tailor their letter accordingly.
  • Let your recommender know once you have been admitted to a university, they will want to hear about your success!


- Rep Visits & Tours -

Ms. Hearne's Guide to College Visits

What Questions Should I Ask My College Rep?

  • How do students spend their free time?
  • What opportunities are available for freshmen to get involved on campus? How would I go about doing that once I arrive?

  • What kind of resources are available to freshmen to help them acclimate to the university's expectations, the campus & local community?

  • I would like to build a positive working rapport and deep connections with my professors, what is the most effective way of doing that on your campus?

  • Is it possible for freshmen to get involved in university research projects? If so, how would I go about getting involved?

  • Do students get involved in the local community and how could I do that as a freshman?

  • What is the culture of the school community and the city's community as a whole?

  • How would you describe the academic culture of your university? Collaborative? Competitive?

Insider Tips on Making the Most of College Visits with Prof. Bernstein

First Impressions

When visiting or conversing with an admissions counselor, department chair, or anyone affiliated with a potential university you want to present yourself professionally while also giving them insight on who you are as a person. So how do you find the perfect balance?

  • You need to be the one sending emails, making phone calls, and setting up interviews/meetings. This is your first big leap into adult/college life, so it's time to take the reins and do the leg work on your own.
  • Share what you are passionate about academically -- This shows your personal interests but also relates to your professional side.
  • Make connections between your personal hobbies/interests and what the school has to offer, i.e. your love for Harry Potter and interest in starting/joining a Quidditch team. It really exists!
  • Are you interested in a science related field? Ask how you can get connected with professors that offer research opportunities for freshmen.
  • Use proper email etiquette. Make sure you double check spelling, grammar, and that you are communicating with the correct person for each school in which you are contacting.


- Podcasts -

I have found the following Podcasts to be helpful "on the go" resources for the college admissions process. They have information pertinent to EVERYONE involved in the process. Topics such as financial aid, essays, admissions must-haves, and parent support are just some of the MANY resources available within these podcasts. Podcasts are great when you don't have time to read yet another article or blog -- just throw it on in the car and become a college admissions expert in no time at all! Subscribe today!

Thanks For Visiting!