Choosing A College
There’s a lot that goes into applying for college. To keep everything straight (deadlines, scholarship essay prompts, test score submissions, etc), make a college applications checklist and use it. Here are some things to include in your college applications checklist:
The College Application Checklist
- List of schools-It may sound self-explanatory, but it will help immensely if you list all the schools you intend on applying to (and it’ll prevent you from mixing up the application deadlines or requirements of each school).
- Submission deadlines- There are several types of admissions: regular (a specific deadline, usually in December for the next fall’s enrollment); rolling (continuing admissions with no specific deadline); and early decision (when students apply earlier with the commitment that if accepted, they will attend). Make sure to include the deadlines for each specific school.
- High school transcript- Official copies of your high school transcripts will need to be sent to the colleges where you’re applying, so make sure you request those well ahead of time. Ask your high school guidance office what you need to do in order to start the process and record the date that they were sent to the institution(s).
- ACT and/or SAT scores- Just like transcripts, universities need official copies of your test scores. Double check each school’s test code by visiting ACT.org or SAT.org and record the date you requested them to be sent. Request them at least two months ahead of the deadlines to account for processing delays. When you register to take the ACT or SAT, you may also be able to include schools to which you are applying so they will send your scores for free.
- Guidelines for scholarship essays- You may be applying for several different scholarships, and they may all have different requirements for the essay (or not require one at all). Avoid any confusion and ensure you follow the directions by keeping the essential information all in one place.
- Recommendation letters- You will most likely have to request recommendation letters from your teachers, guidance counselors and others who can speak to your dedication as a student and your character. As a courtesy, make sure you don’t ask for them at the last minute. The best recommendation is going to be one that isn’t rushed. Always request recommendations from more people than you need, in case one falls through, and give them at least three weeks notice.
- List of questions to ask on the campus tour- Campus tours can be overwhelming; there’s so much to take in. Always bring a pad and paper (or take notes on your phone) to keep track of everything. Check out our list of things to bring to a campus tour here.