Applying to College

  • Completing applications can seem overwhelming, but this page should address a number of frequently asked questions and terms that may be unfamiliar. Please check out the othe related pages or email Ms. Balsamo if you have any additional questions. 

    Important Topics

    Fee Waivers

    Students who believe they qualify for a fee waiver should speak with Ms. Balsamo prior to filling out the fee waiver section of an application page. You may need a code for some, for others you may just need to say you qualify. However, this has to be verified by the senior counselor. If we are unable to verify this request it would be denied and the application would be pulled pending reciept of payment. See below for reasons to request a fee waiver:

    • You're enrolled in or eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
    • Your annual family income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
    • You're enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., Federal TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).
    • Your family receives public assistance.
    • You live in federally subsidized public housing or a foster home, or are homeless.
    • You are a ward of the state or an orphan.

    Early Action v. Early Decision

    Early decision (ED) and early action (EA) plans can be beneficial to students — but only to those who have thought through their college options carefully and have a clear preference for one institution. Early decision plans are binding — a student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college. Early action plans are nonbinding — students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date. 


    ED applicants

    • Apply early (usually in November) to first-choice college.
    • Receive an admission decision from the college well in advance of the usual notification date (usually by December).
    • Agree to attend the college if accepted and offered a financial aid package that is considered adequate by the family.
    • Apply to only one college early decision.
    • Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
    • Withdraw all other applications if accepted by ED.
    • Send a nonrefundable deposit well in advance of May 1.

    EA applicants

    • Apply early.
    • Receive an admission decision early in the admission cycle (usually in January or February).
    • Consider the acceptance offer; do not have to commit upon receipt.
    • Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
    • Give the college a decision no later than the May 1 national response date.

    Who should apply early?

    Applying to an ED or EA plan is most appropriate for a student who:

    • Has researched colleges extensively.
    • Is absolutely sure that the college is the first choice.
    • Has found a college that is a strong match academically, socially and geographically.
    • Meets or exceeds the admission profile for the college for SAT® scores, GPA and class rank.
    • Has an academic record that has been consistently solid over time.

    Applying to an ED or EA plan is not appropriate for a student who:

    • Has not thoroughly researched colleges.
    • Is applying early just to avoid stress and paperwork.
    • Is not fully committed to attending the college.
    • Is applying early only because friends are.
    • Needs a strong senior fall semester to bring grades up.

    Financial Aid Assistance

    Onslow County Schools has financial aid seminars regularly throughout the year, but one of the most useful resources available to you is your local Community College's financial aid department. They would be happy to schedule an appointment with you to help walk you through the FAFSA and residency process! To the right I've added links to both CCCC and CFCC's Financial Aid departments. 

    Recommendations, School Report, Transcripts

    Please be sure to list Ms. Balsamo as the counselor. Unless you've spoken to Ms. Balsamo about a letter of recommendation, please list her as a Counselor. Submission of these documents will not delay your application. So long as you have completed and submitted your application by the deadline it will be evaluated for the deadline you've selected. Once you've submitted your application you may not be able to change your recommenders, so be mindful of that. Also be midnful of your recommenders' time, please ensure that there is plenty of time (min. 2 weeks) between your request and the deadline. You will want to speak to or email your prospective recommender and ask them if they would be willing to write a letter prior to submitting their names. 

    CommonApp School Report Schedule

    School reports are completed on PD or Teacher Workdays. All reports submitted prior to the workday/PD day will be completed on each workday/PD day. A School report submitted after the deadline of an application will not jeopardize the student's application, given the student has submitted their appliction on time.