As a high school senior, you should, by now, have submitted a few college applications and should be preparing to send in a few more. Always note the deadlines. November 1st, November 15th, and December 1st, all seem to be in the future now but you need to complete your application and review it before pressing the “submit” button. Completing your application means answering all the questions and marking “not applicable” for questions that do not apply to you. If you have several common application schools, your task seems easier. But remember that in addition to selecting an essay topic from the essay prompts, you need to find the essay supplement for each college and answer the question or write that essay as well. Choose your essay topic carefully and make sure that you are the author of your essay. If you pick a topic that you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to write about, how you feel about that topic will show through your writing. Feel free to consult your English teacher about your essay. But let your essay be in your own words and engage the reader. Treat every step of your plan to gain college admission carefully and seriously.
You know that you need to request from the appropriate sources in your school, documents required by each college to support your application. Follow the college’s instructions on sending transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation. Send only what colleges ask for. Remember that your high school transcripts, test scores where required, personal statement and record of extracurricular activities matter. Do not request letters of recommendation to colleges that do not ask you for them. For colleges that require them, send only the ones they ask you for. Do not request six letters of recommendation to be sent to a college that asks for only the counselor recommendation and one teacher recommendation.
Be sure you know the types of admission decisions you are seeking. Know that Early Decision(ED) is binding, whether the college calls it Early Decision I or II. Before you apply ED, ask and ensure that you understand all the implications of gaining admission by early decision. Call the office of admissions if you are not clear. For most colleges, Early Action is nonbinding but read the fine print. When in doubt, ask the admissions office. Restrictive Early Action tells you that if the college admits you, you must withdraw your Early Action application from other colleges. Ask the college if you are in doubt.
After you’ve sent in all your applications, assuming that you did a thorough college search and took proper care of every aspect of the process, continue with your senior year work and wait for the outcome of your applications.