Monthly Features

Ready, Set, Let’s Roll!: Getting Your Applications in Early

Seniors, this is the time of year to complete college applications.  Many colleges have priority application deadlines so be sure you know what they are! You also need to keep in mind that admission officers work to fill the class: once the class is full, you may be the best applicant, but you may be put on a wait list or denied admission entirely.  Here are some suggestions for applying to college.

  • Check on the college website.  Not all colleges have the same requirements for your application for admission. The website should have a tab for admissions, click on the tab and see if you can apply online. Many schools use the common application. If you must complete a paper application, do you have to send the application by mail or can it be attached in an email?  This information is normally available online.  There may be a charge to submit an application, check to see if the application fee is waived if you apply online.
  • Does your application require an essay with a personal statement? Is there a specific question you have to respond to or or is it open ended? If you have flexibility, find the passion in your life and write about it! If you are passionate about what you are writing about, the reader is more apt to be passionate about you as a candidate.
  • High school transcripts and test scores.  You will need to have an official copy of your high school transcript sent by the guidance office to the colleges.  When it comes to test scores, many colleges “super score” your SAT and ACT results.  This means if you have taken the test more than once, they will take the highest sub scores from each test and recalculate the totals.
  • Letters of recommendation.  If this is required, make sure to give serious consideration to who you ask for the recommendation.  Other than a relative, who knows you well enough to write a good letter of recommendation?  A good letter of recommendation takes time.  Make sure to ask early enough so they don’t have to rush to get the letter done to meet a deadline. 
  • Create a file folder.  Keep copies of the application and letters of recommendation.  Save a copy of the essay.  You may be able to use the same essay for several applications.  During this very busy time it will be helpful if you keep all your college information organized in a folder for later reference.
  • Scholarships.  Early applicants may also have an advantage to be considered for institutional scholarships.  What is not to like about another scholarship to help with your educational expenses?  Get that application submitted as soon as possible and increase your chances for admission and additional scholarship money!

Publication Date: November 2015