There are lots of ways to apply to colleges. You can do it on a colleges website. Log into CommonApp.org. Use a universal application service or even a state wide application service like ApplyTexas. org. Or you can go down to the college in person and fill out a paper form with your favorite pencil.
It really doesn't matter how you do it. What matters is WHEN you do it!
Ideally every student should get all applications to all college completed no later than November 1st of their senior year. This is not what you will read on websites. It's not even what colleges will tell you. But it is the optimal schedule to follow if you want to be eligible for maximum financial aid - - including merit-based, need-based, and performance dollars.
COMPLETED means that you have done all of the following.
uploaded your essays
paid your fee
hit the submit button
ordered transcripts to be sent
ordered all tests scores to be sent
emailed each college to confirm your app is in processing and not waiting on anything
So if you haven't gotten started or if you are waiting on tests scores or grades or any of a cajillion other things that we think matter, stop putting it off. Get in their and complete your college applications now so that you will be ready for scholarship apps come December.
You do know that just like Thanksgiving & Christmas, college admissions and financial aid is just around the corner.