Organizing Your College Application Process
So here we are at the start or perhaps middle of the college application time for seniors. Those of you who are applying using Common Application or Coalition or Universal have hopefully already created accounts. Many will have one of these plus a few others who do not participate in combined applications. Many large state school programs, such as PA, CA, or TX have their own system. Some schools have never been part of the group process, such as Georgetown and Elon. So the number of application registrations you might need to make could be from one to several. It is best to try to keep your login information and passwords the same or similar. I ask all to either put them on a sticky note on your computer desktop or email them to yourselves as you make them, because when it comes time to submit, many of you forget them.
Now you have started to fill in all the information regarding your profile such as family, demographics, academics, tests, etc. as well as have begun to work on your personal statement or main college essay. I will advise those who can yield no benefit from disclosing demographic information to not do this section at all. It is optional. It is asking about ethnicity and race, etc. For decades now, most college counselors have found that some colleges’ systems discriminate against certain ethnicities, so if you are not lucky to be one of the favored, do not fill this section out at all. A good college counselor or consultant can give you a heads up about this section. You do not want to have your application cast aside as “less desirable” for something you have no control over at all.
As you add colleges you are interested in to your applications, there is typically a Dashboard or area where you can see each college on your application. On the Common App this is on the left side in a vertical menu bar. Now I have my clients working weekly on a “to do” list for theses colleges. Once you have completed all the profile sections, you must now go to the colleges. For each college you will have to answer specific questions, you will have to put your recommenders in and invite them, and some will also have an additional writing supplement.
Now, some colleges are sneaky about supplement essays. They are not actual writing supplements that are submitted separately after you submit your application, but are part of the Questions asked that must be submitted simultaneously with your application. Some are short, 250 words or fewer; some are full blown 500 words or even more. I have each student working on at least three per week now. It takes time to do these well. And this is not something that can be crammed in during the month of October to meet deadline.
Remember, you must do all these essays and writing sections, along with your recommender invites early. One you need those invites to make it to the recommenders before October. It sometimes takes as long as three weeks for the email from the application site to deliver to your recommender’s inbox. It is best to give any of your recommenders a heads up as you put them into the invite queue. You can have additional recommenders who are not teachers. Each college, under the FERPA and Recommender section, will tell you how many teachers, if any, and how many additional, if any, you are allowed to send in. Follow that guideline. It is common courtesy to give your recommenders a few weeks to do the form sent to them. So get it to them by Mid to late September, so they have until mid-October to complete.
These are college applications; missing deadlines of any kind is unacceptable. You will simply be denied admission by most colleges if you fail to get everything in on time. You must also release and send your scores if the college requires this. You do this on the test sites, either ACT or SAT, and if you are sending AP scores, you will have to release those as well, and those are on another site. You must read how to release and send your scores very carefully, so you do not send the wrong scores or fail to send the best score option by college. The scores usually take three weeks to send electronically, so make sure if you are applying early those scores are being sent by October 10!
Get your sticky notes or calendar out and start scheduling at least two to four hours a week to work on your college applications. You have no time left to procrastinate. Do it now. Of course, if you need a success coach, contact us! We are happy to organize and oversee the entire process and provide review and help with submission as well.