Try to include at least one college that's a sure thing for you in terms of admissions standards and costs. Remember that financial aid could help reduce the cost for students who qualify for admission, but are unable to pay the full cost.
Make sure you check out each college's requirements. Schools require different things when it comes to applying. Each will have its own deadlines, fees, and required steps. Some schools ask for interviews, essays and personal references, in addition to applications and test scores.
Apply as early as possible. Let your school guidance counselor know well ahead of time if you need transcripts. Also, let the people writing letters of reference know the deadline for their letters.
Quick tips for writing the college admissions essay:
Source: ACT, Inc.