If the university admission season has gone according to plan, you’re likely placing the finishing touches on your last supplemental essays, penning personal thank-you cards to your teacher recommenders, and hunkering down for a congratulatory plate of ice cream and Netflix marathon. Could dream scenario is appealing to parents and students alike, it doesn’t quite match up with reality regarding so many seniors scrambling to stay along with things during this stressful fall. When you have put off your applications for the last few months, waiting until a sense of urgency leg techinques in, you’re not alone. But we are here to tell you that the time for you to get started is right now (if not a 30 days ago), and to help you take the first large steps towards college application achievement.
Finalize Your own List
Your list of schools drives everything you do in the particular college application procedure , from the number of supplemental documents you’ll have to write to the number of standard tests you’ll need to have completed. If the University of Chicago makes the final cut, you’ll have two challenging additional essays to write. If you want to apply to Georgetown and have just two SAT II Subject Test scores under your belt, you’ll need to register for another prior to the year ends. Adding schools to your list means adding more work to your plate, and as long as your list remains incomplete, you’ll have a hard time knowing where to begin.
Take the list of universities you’re currently considering and ask your few basic questions: Do I have two “safety” universities on my list? If not, you’ll want to find a minimum of two schools you really like that fall under that category for you. Am I giving myself enough options? Applying to 10 “reach” schools may seem ambitious, yet it’s also foolish. At the end of the day, you’ll want to have good schools to choose from, so make sure your list is appropriately well balanced. What kind of financial aid should i expect to receive? Just as your own list should be balanced in terms of the chance for gaining admission, it should be balanced in terms of expected financial aid. Use the schools’ Internet Price Calculator to get a sense associated with expected final cost—you won’t want to put yourself in the position of getting only expensive options in April.
Build a Spreadsheet
Once you’ve figured out where you’re going to apply, enter your final seven to 10 schools into a spreadsheet. You’ll use this document to keep track of all the materials you have to submit, and by when. In one line, include the application deadlines for each of the schools—don’t forget your financial aid deadlines, either! In a second column, compose the number of required supplemental essays and total word count. Use the outstanding columns to build a checklist regarding other materials you’ll need to submit, which includes test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and relevant supplements for art or music. If you spend a few weekend break hours building this spreadsheet and populating the cells with all the relevant information, you’ll save yourself an enormous amount of time later in the process. With the spreadsheet filled, at this point you know everything you have to do and by when.
Inform Your Consultant and Teachers
These days, you can’t apply to college on your own. At the very least, you’ll need your high school to send your official transcript to the colleges on your list. And it’s quite likely that you will need letters of recommendation from your consultant and one or two teachers from your high school. Managing your relationship with your teachers and counselors is a important part of the application process. If you haven’t yet asked two teachers regarding letters of recommendation, you need to ask them as soon as possible. Asking at the last minute reflects poorly you at best, and in the worst case scenario it might mean a teacher is too occupied to say yes. Just as importantly, several high schools have deadlines through which students must request transcripts and extra forms from the counseling office. These types of deadlines often come much earlier than your applications will be due, and it is imperative that you do not miss them! Set up a brief meeting with your guidance or college counselor, discuss the universities on your list, and ask what he or she needs from you to ensure all materials are sent in a timely style. A brief conversation this week can save you a whole mess of heartache over the next few months.
Your time to use to college may be wearing thin, but it has not yet run out. By taking control over your list, organizing yourself, and keeping everyone in the loop, you’ll end up being taking the first steps towards university application success.
Ian Fisher is a member of College Coach’s team of university admissions experts . Ian obtained his master’s in policy, corporation, and leadership studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining College Coach, Ian proved helpful as a senior admissions officer in Reed College.