Are you a senior who hasn’t started their applications?

Once upon a time, most college students didn’t start applications until sometime in the fall of senior year and submitted them in January or February. Now, the push is to have everything in early, by November 1st, to maximize scholarhips, early action and early decision. But those are technically “early” programs. Most colleges have a regular decision deadline that hasn’t passed. Many colleges offer rolling admissions, which means they accept applications on a rolling basis until their class is full. So all is not lost if you haven’t gotten everything done yet. There is still time to apply to most schools, although top scholarships may have been tied to earlier deadlines.

Where should you start? Here are a few tips

  1. Does you have a list of schools. If not, that needs to be step 1. You should use a search engine like College Board’s My Big Future to compile a list of schools. Look at the admission statistics and pick schools where you have a stronger chance to be admitted (for example–if the published middle 50% gpa range is 3.5-4.1 and you have a 3.2 this isn’t a good fit but if the range is 2.9-3.6 then you do).
  2. Visit the school’s website to research the school more thoroughly and to understand admission requirements.
  3. Schedule a virtual visit (or in-person if it is nearby) to learn more and make sure you want to apply.
  4. Look up the colleges’ deadlines to make sure you can still apply. Note the date all materails must be received by the college so you can have everything in before that deadline (including financial aid forms).
  5. Start the application required by the college. Mostly likely they use the Common Application ( but they may use their own application.
  6. Review the application materials needed for the school and start compiling them:
    • Do you need letters of recommendations? Ask teachers then send them a link through the common app to complete.
    • Are you applying with your SAT or ACT scores? Do you need to send official scores? If so order them.
    • Start completing the college specific questions on the Common Application. Adding a specfiic major or program (honors for example) can result in additional essays.
    • Start drafting your essays. Some schools can have up to three essays so get those started ASAP.
    • Order your transcripts to be sent by your high school.
    • Submit your applications
    • Do they recommend an interview or video submission? Get that created or scheduled.
    • Does it require a Self Reported Academic Record (SRAR)–get that stared and then once the school sends you their SRAR link you can connect your SRAR to their school.
  7. If you want to be considered for financial aid, submit the FAFSA and file a CSS profile if you school requires it.
  8. Check your email often and follow any steps sent by the college including creating an applicant portal account.

While we prefer to start early with students to help them have a thoughtful and strong application process, we can help a limited number of students applying regular decision develop their essays and complete their applications. To start the process schedule a consultation here.

Published by Kate Coffman

Kate has worked in admissions, financial aid, college and career readiness for over twenty years. She most recently served as the Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Franklin College. Kate has also worked in admissions at Butler University and Indiana University. Kate has presented at numerous schools and conferences helping families, educators and those who work with youth understand how to be college and career ready, how to apply to college and how to afford their education.

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