ELEMENTS OF A COMPLETE COLLEGE APPLICATION
- Official College Application – This is the piece that starts your file in the admissions office. It is also the piece where you are putting your interests, ideas, hopes and experiences on paper for the admissions officers to learn about you.
- College Essays – These will go in with your applications. Colleges have made it nearly impossible for you to forget to submit your essays, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to do so. But do remember to spend time working on these pieces of writing. They are your opportunity to share with colleges what is important to you. Essays done at the last minute tend not to be your best work. So, if you have not already gotten started, there is no time like the present!
- Teacher Recommendations – Many schools require up to two letters and some up to four. These letters give admissions officers information about you from others who know you well. Be honest with your teachers about what you want to emphasize, and more than anything, be respectful of their time and effort. These letters are not easy to write, so do what you can to help them out.Optional Recommendations – Some schools will accept letters from coaches, bosses, mentors, essentially whoever knows you outside of the academic setting. These letters show strengths in different areas. These are truly optional. But if there is someone who knows you well, has seen you work, and can write a great letter, by all means submit it.
- Official Test Scores – Submit test scores through the official agencies – College Board for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests and ACT Student for the ACT. Check college entrance requirements to see if the SAT II Subject Test may be required (this is mostly for upper tier and east and west-coast schools).
- Transcript and Secondary School Reports – Most colleges will want official grades from your school.Some colleges will require that high school counselors also submit a school report called a Secondary School Report or Mid-Year Report. Give this form to your counselor to fill out and submit. The school report will address basic information about the school.
- Interviews and Supplementary Information – If you plan to submit a portfolio or participate in an interview, be sure to follow the deadline and submission requirements.
- Payment – Colleges make this piece of the application mandatory and complete obvious. Make sure you don’t close your browser before payment is complete.
- Always call or email the college admission office within 14 days to verify the receipt of your application. Remember, it is your responsibility to request your high school or dual credit transcripts be sent to the colleges you are applying to.
College applications are the single opportunity to influence the admission process. The most important thing you can do is follow directions and submit your applications as early as possible. And remember to Proofread everything before you submit it!