November is an exciting month on the college planning timeline! Students are completing their applications and sending them off to their chosen institutions. While college-bound students are still basking in the glory of finalizing their college essays, it is important to keep up the momentum, as now is the perfect time to submit those college applications.
Sure, the application process can be tedious and time-consuming, but taking it one simple step at a time will prevent students from becoming overwhelmed. Liberal Arts Colleges has compiled an easy-to-follow checklist to streamline the application process.
Prioritize: Once you have your college applications on hand, prioritize them by the deadline. Be sure to make a note of both the early application deadline and regular application deadline. Plan to submit your applications as early as possible to ensure your chosen colleges receive them in plenty of time. Getting those applications in early will give you peace of mind.
Organize: Once you have determined the application due dates for each school, make a list of the documents you will need to include with each application. These often include:
- High School Transcripts
- Admission Test Scores
- Recommendation Letters
Brainstorm: Before you begin filling out your college applications, have a brainstorming session to ensure you include all of your high school achievements, awards, and extracurricular activities. Anything you have participated in that is above and beyond your high school’s requirements should be included. Colleges like to see variety, so be sure not to overlook any accomplishments.
Make Copies: Colleges prefer students to complete their applications in pen, rather than in pencil (if not completing electronically). To avoid making mistakes on your only application, make copies. Complete a “test” application, and then neatly copy the information over to the final copy, which you will submit to the college. Be sure to write legibly and sign your applications. You will also want to make a copy of your completed, final applications, along with the required additional documents.
Be Consistent: When filling out your applications, be consistent with your information. Always use the same name on all forms. Avoid using nicknames.
Reach Out: While you will be filling out the majority of each college application, you will need to enlist the help of your high school counselor and/or teachers. It is imperative to arrange meetings with these individuals right away to ensure their sections of your applications are completed in plenty of time. Let your counselor and/or teachers know the date you need their sections to be completed by. Once the applications are completed successfully, carefully review them, and have a family member and/or teacher look over them as well. This is also a great time to read through your college essays one more time.
Pay to Apply: Be sure to pay the colleges’ application fee by the deadline.
Thank Those Who Assisted You: Send personalized thank-you notes to the counselors and/or teachers who helped you in the college application process.
A Note to Parents
While it is important that your child completes his/her own applications, the process can be stressful. Be encouraging and invite your college-bound teen to come to you if he/she gets overwhelmed.
A Note to College-Bound Students
Completing and submitting your college applications is a major accomplishment! The steps listed above will help you to streamline the process and submit applications you can be proud of.