anatomy of a college application

author: boise bible college
published on: january 24, 2020

the college application process can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re filling out multiple applications. however, the information colleges require has a purpose. in this article, we hope to breakdown the different college application materials.

together, all the materials give a whole picture of who you are as a person.

the college application includes, but are not limited to:


  1. personal history and academic information
  2. essay
  3. recommendation
  4. test scores (sat or act)
  5. ap scores (if applicable)
  6. official transcripts (college and/or high school)
  7. application fee

let’s dive in . . .

personal history and academic information

usually, this portion begins the application. this section includes general information about you and your family. depending on the college, this data may be different. for example, as a bible college we ask for home church information.

the personal history and academic information section gathers information such as graduation year, academic interests, school information, and more. the information you provide helps admissions counselors to better personalize contact with you. for example, if you answered “yes” to being in the military, then the admissions counselor will know to communicate va benefits with you.



your college essay depends on what the college requires. you want to make sure your essay is well written. before submitting your essay to the college (or colleges), make sure it is free of grammatical errors and follows logical progression.

colleges use this essay to understand who you are and your goals. in addition, the essay is used as a writing sample to better understand your academic aptitude. so, write well.


most colleges require a recommendation for your college application. the recommendation reinforces the information you’ve provided as well as testifies for your character. choose someone who will speak well and honest about you to provide your recommendation.


test scores

most colleges require either an act or sat score, some even require both. while it may seem cumbersome to take the act or sat, the scores tell colleges if you’re academically ready for higher scholarship. these tests measure college preparedness, and they are important in determining college success.

if you do not take the act or sat, then you may miss out on being admitted to colleges of your choice. however, some colleges like boise bible college, offer alternate routes of measuring college readiness such as an access program.

ap scores:

although these scores aren’t required in some cases for admittance, colleges may use them to place you in higher level courses. then you may not need to take unnecessary classes . . . saving time and money.


official transcripts:

colleges can admit students on unofficial transcripts i.e. those transcripts before you graduate. however, you must send an official final transcript once graduated. this ensures authenticity and that your final grades meet academic requirements. don’t let senioritis get the best of you and dip your grades!

if you’ve taken running start or dual enrollment at another college you’ve received credit, you must also send the official transcript from the college as well as the high school.

if you are a few years removed from high school and have attended college, then you only need to send in official college transcripts. make sure to send in transcripts from all colleges or universities in which you were enrolled.


application fee:

it’s important to pay the application fee because it shows colleges that you’re serious about the process. however, under some circumstances, colleges may waive the application fee such as visiting campus. don’t let the application fee hold you back from attending college!

each of the above college application materials serve a purpose. it’s important to complete each request for your application in a timely manner, because they all help develop a whole picture for the college.

applying to college for the first is thrilling! remember, if you have any questions or need help, admissions counselors are available to guide you through the process.

explore further

2020-2021 school year at boise bible college learn more here