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Applying early for college has benefits

Clovis Christian School senior Andrew Hertel has a plan for college.

He wants to study law at Texas Tech University. He has taken his ACT, a standardized test used by many colleges. He is visiting the Lubbock campus today.

Only one thing remains — filling out the application.

“I don’t even know where to start yet. I don’t even know what to apply for. I hope I get a good grade on my ACT and that takes care of it,” Hertel said.

Hertel, however, is not behind schedule. According to guidance counselors, Hertel has taken the correct steps to prepare for application. For the fall semester, Texas Tech recommends having applications filed by Feb. 1, but accepts them until June 1, according to the school’s Web site.

High school seniors are in the early stages of the application process. Jerry Odom, head guidance counselor at Clovis High School, said most colleges’ early enrollment deadlines have passed, but the majority of students don’t use that process.

Odom said students have from now until about early March to send out applications. But applying in November can have advantages.

“If a student is looking at two or three colleges and they want to apply to their first choice, it makes a lot of sense to apply to their first choice early,” he said. “So if they were denied admission they would have time to get in under regular admissions.”

The more selective the school, the earlier students may have to apply. Odom said highly competitive schools’ application deadlines are as early as December. Odom said some students in the top 10 percent of the senior class consider these schools.

Eastern New Mexico University accepts applications up to 30 days before the semester begins. Clovis Community College allows registration the week prior to classes.

Clovis Christian Academic Advisor Kim Peterson said she began discussing college plans with her seniors the first school week. CCHS has 11 seniors with Hertel among the 10 planning to attend college, she said.

“Most of them have told me where they want to go so I try to get those colleges to come and talk to them,” she said.

Peterson said she takes her seniors on a trip to a local college each year. This year the students visited Eastern.

Applying early can free up time to apply for college scholarships and allow for students to concentrate on specifics, such as choosing dorms, Odom said.

And, it relieves pressure.

“The spring semester for a lot of our seniors is a very stressful time because some of them haven’t pinpointed where they want to attend,” Odom said. “They make last-minute decisions that may not be the best.”