For juniors, the past three years of high school all leads up to one single moment-applying to colleges. After years spent in high school earning good grades, becoming involved in your communities or in sports or various clubs, one application is what stands between students and the rest of their higher education. The act of applying to colleges is regarded as extremely stressful and the best way to tackle this daunting task is to face it head on and begin your applications early. Starting this year, applications for colleges in Texas open one month earlier as they now open in July.

College applications typically opening the late summer with the Common Application opening in August, yet for the incoming seniors who want to apply to Texas universities this window of time has been extended on Apply Texas. With an extra month added to the application process, students who decide to start their application early will have less stress dealing with applications once the school year begins and can instead focus on enjoying their senior year. By starting applications early in the summer, they have more time to revise, rewrite and perfect their essays, and can put in a lot of effort to make sure their application as a whole is stronger. Nearly 700 colleges are available on the Common Applications and the essay prompts for 2017-2018 have already been announced.

Another benefit towards starting applications early is that it gives applicants more time to apply to multiple colleges. Over the past decade, the college admissions process has become extremely competitive and many students will apply to as many as seven or more schools. It is not feasible to expect students to be able to apply to multiple colleges as well as maintain their grades and remain involved in their various extracurricular activities. Students will have to sacrifice some of their free time in the summer to work on applications, but the effects of starting the admissions process earlier will only benefit them in the long run.

Starting your application process earlier means you need to begin thinking about the materials you need as the school year winds to a close. Approach teachers and counselors for recommendations as soon as possible, and finalize the list of colleges you want to apply to

The college admissions process is arduous and long but by tackling that workload earlier it can alleviate a lot of the stress that usually comes with it. More time is gained to work on applications, and a balancing game is avoided with a heavy school workload along with applications. At the end of the day starting early ensures that students have a better chance of building the strongest application, that can only increase chances for admission.

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