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Score at the Top Blog

7 “To-dos” When Submitting College Applications

Wednesday, November 02, 2016


1. Print a copy of your application BEFORE you submit.

Make sure you’ve printed a copy of the application for your records – as well as the confirmation of submission and payment of application fee.

2. Ensure that your transcript has been sent.

Unless you know for absolute certainty that your Guidance Office has already sent off your official transcript, remind your counselor of looming deadlines. Pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes may be necessary for colleges to which your transcript must be mailed rather than emailed. It's fine to send transcripts even before you submit an application! However…

Before your transcript is sent, check it thoroughly to be certain that everything is as it should be: classes, grades, and credits, service hours if they’re recorded, and SAT/ACT scores. Most private high schools do not include test scores on the transcript, which is fine. However, many public high schools do include scores, and it’s a good idea to send your counselor a note asking to remove scores you’re legitimately not sending to colleges (which he or she can typically do through someone at the School District office – caution: it may take a little while).

Remember, for UF, FSU, and FAU you don’t send your transcript – unless and until you’re admitted and decide to go there. Instead, you submit the SSAR (Student Self-Reported Academic Record) with or soon after you submit your application. There are other colleges as well that do not require a transcript until you’re admitted, such as the nine colleges in the University of California system.

3. Check the status of your recommendations.

UF doesn’t want any, nor do most Florida state universities. However, most Common App colleges require at least one recommendation. Through the Common App, Naviance, or a college’s online portal, you can check which recommendations have been submitted. Make sure your recommenders have followed through – or remind them again of your request for a recommendation.

4. Send your official test scores.

Send official test scores in time to meet your application deadlines! Most colleges do not regard as “official” the scores that may appear on your transcript. Check college guidelines to determine which score they want to receive: ACT, SAT, Subject Test scores, and/or TOEFL scores. You’re the one who orders the score reports through College Board, ACT, or ETS, which send your official score report directly to the colleges that you specify. If you’ve already sent your scores but retook a test and got a higher score, then send an updated score report. And it's fine to send an official score report even before you submit an application. Most colleges do not require an official AP or IB score report until you’ve made a commitment to attend that college.

5. Be sure to have your parents complete the appropriate financial aid forms.

If you feel you may qualify for financial aid, your parents must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible (the application opened on October 1). Some universities also require the CSS profile or their own financial aid or scholarship form. Don’t let this important part of the application process slip away from you: deadlines are strict and tend to be around this time of year. You should be aware, however, that not all colleges are need-blind and applying for financial aid can have a slightly negative impact on your application at colleges that are not need-blind (i.e., colleges that take financial need into consideration when they make some admission decisions).

Next semester Florida students will apply for Bright Futures through your high school. Even if you don’t plan to go to college in Florida, you should still apply for Bright Futures because if you ever return to Florida for college, you can get a Bright Futures scholarship only if you applied for it during your senior year of high school.

6. “Demonstrate your interest.”

An official college visit, including information session and campus tour, improves your chances of admission at most private universities. You can arrange to meet with an admissions counselor, faculty members, and students; attend a class or two and even do an overnight in a residence hall. One enormous benefit of a visit is tasting campus life in real time, allowing you to determine if the fit is right for you. (And if you haven’t yet submitted your application, this visit will help you write a more compelling “Why college X?” essay.)

7. Check up on your application.

Check the status of your application about a week after you submit it. Most colleges provide an online portal through which you can check the status of your application to make sure it’s complete.

Need help with finishing your applications and making them shine?

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It’s never to late…

And good luck with your college admissions!