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General Tips in Applying to Competive Colleges

  • For competitive schools- look to take the most rigorous course of study in high school (honors/dual credit)- they will ask when you are applying, or they will ask your counselopr to verify this!
  • If you're looking to transfer credits in AZ, check out AzTransfer.  For outside of AZ, look at individual schools and speak to an advisor at that individual school.
  • Start looking for summer programs in your junior year (you might find some virtual ones open to sophomores as well)
  • For college rankings/info: US News Best Colleges. You can order the magazine and an online annual subscription, which could be especially helpful in your junior-senior year.
  • For financial Aid: Hefar Group they give a free consultation to help families complete their FAFSA and CSS Profile (for highly competitive schools), to get the most financial aid possible even if you don't qualify for Pell Grant.
  • (Note: if you are taking dual credit classes (2 or more per semester) and your sibling is also in college, you can claim 2 children in college next year. If Antonio has already completed his FAFSA, you can make a correction and indicate that you have 2 in college for 2021-2022!)
  • Senior Year: Common App for college applications. You can also apply to many schools with a MyCoalition account (I am not as familiar with this one; Common App has been around longer)
  • For Scholarships- you can start a profile now: Going Merry and ScholarsApp
  • Think about volunteering in the community, working, doing something outside of academics that you are passionate about. It's not about breadth, but depth (not scattering your energy all over, but focusing energy on a few things you really care about)
  • Ask for letters of recommendation beginning in your junior year. 
  • Check out the Bisbee Counseling Page regularly, especially as a senior (scholarships)
  • In taking CTE classes, complete a program- show dedication to a skill/program. Then you can try another or even complete (take beyond level one) in 2 areas!

Are you a highly performing student? Are you enrolled in the most rigorous courses possible? Are you involved in your school, community, and or in special interests? Do you work, have significan out-of-school responsibilities and experiences that you have risen above to succeed? Are you interested in attending school out of town and possibly out of state? 

If you answered yes to these questions, you may be interested in applying to highly competitive universities and/or liberal arts colleges. As stated by , “A great education costs less than you think. Need-based financial aid can make a school like Yale your most affordable option.” 

Check out to estimate your cost at more than “70 top universities in three minutes”

What is a Liberal Arts Eduication? What is a LIberal Arts College? Click here to learn more from