School is back in session. And for seniors, it means you should be applying to colleges. Many colleges have November deadlines for their top scholarships. Here are the steps you should be taking the next few months to have your applications submitted.
1.Create an account at http://www.commonapp.org and complete all the sections on the common app tab
2. Finalize your college list and add the to the Common Application. If they don’t use the Common Application create accounts at either the school specific application or application they use.
3.Look at the requirements for the colleges where you are applying. Click on the college on the left hand side menu and a page will open with information about applying and requirements further down the page.
4. Do they require letters of recommendation (if so have you asked teachers)?
5. Do they have supplemental essay questions?
6. Do you have to send official SAT or ACT scores if applying with test scores (go on to Collegeboard.org or ACT.org to send)?
7. Do they accept self reported grades or do you need to send an official transcript (and do you know how to request transcripts at your school)?
8.Write your personal statement…the Common Application has 7 choices to choose from and most work for the Coalition or school specific applications if you are also applying to schools that use those applications.
9. Start to answer the college specific questions (click on the colleges on the My College tab). If colleges have essays, start to draft those.
10. Click the Recommenders and FERPA section. FERPA is a federal law that protects your educational record. You need to waive your rights to allow your high school to send grades to your colleges. You should also waive your rights to read letters of recommendations. Colleges want teachers to feel they can be honest in the letter. If you are asking to see the letters its harder for a teacher to do that.
11. If your school doesn’t use Naviance or Scoir, then you need to add your school counselor and recommenders in the Common Application. If you do use Scoir or Naviance (or Maya or Xello) check with your school as to how they want you to request recommendations and counselor forms.
12. If you want to invite someone who is not a teacher as a recommender, you can use the invite recommender section.
13. When you have completed all parts of the application, click the review and submit and follow all prompts until you see the Congratulations screen.
14. Once you submit your applications make sure to follow up with other required materials like transcripts and test scores. Some colleges will email you confirming they received your application and have you create a portal to view your application materials and even your decision. Make sure you write down the username and password as you will need to get into that portal often over the next few months.
15. October 1 begin your financial aid process by filing your FAFSA. Some schools also use the CSS Profile. Check the college website to see if that form will be needed. You can start the FAFSA process now by registering for your FSA ID at studentaid.org.
Coffman consulting is always happy to help with the financial aid process or college admission process. To schedule a free consultation visit click here.