The November 1st college application deadlines are exactly two weeks away. That doesn’t leave much time to fine tune those applications and get them submitted, but it is possible.
Early Decision (ED), Single-Choice Early Action, Early Action (EA) and Priority application deadlines to many colleges and universities begin Thursday November 1st and go through to November 15th. These application options have become very popular in the last few years with more and more students applying in this first round. There are advantages to being prepared to submitting, but applying early only makes sense if all the work that goes into putting together a strong application has been done, and properly. Not necessarily in order of priority the following points must be checked off before the application should be submitted.
• Complete all parts of all your applications - All the applications (Common app, Coalition, and Common Black College App) are programmed to alert the student if some crucial information is missing and prevent them from submitting, but it's always a good idea to proof carefully for accuracy of phone numbers, social security numbers, etc.
• Complete and proof all essays - Proof both the personal statement and supplemental essays. Double check that you have respected the word count and that you've answered the question if provided a specific prompt. These essays, both large and small, are very important so do not take them lightly. The prompts might seem silly and boring, but it will quickly obvious which student has put time into it, which hasn’t and who is serious.
• Keep your guidance counselor updated - Make sure that your counselor is aware of all the schools you have chosen to apply to so that they can send the necessary documents (transcripts, mid-year report, counselor recommendation). Link your Common App to your Naviance account, if applicable.
• Send SAT/ACT score reports - It take about two weeks for schools to receive them once ordered. Less selective schools are often satisfied with the scores that appear on the transcript so students on a budget should double check the admission requirements for their schools before spending the money to send them. Are you eligible for a fee waiver?
Starting next year both the SAT and ACT will send up to 20 FREE score reports for low-income students who registered for the test using a fee waiver. Meanwhile, everyone should take advantage of the 4 FREE score reports that come with every registration of both the SAT and ACT.
• Letters of recommendation - Now's the time to politely remind those who will be writing you letters of approaching deadlines. If you haven't already done so provide them with a list of schools so that they might customize their letters if they want to, and make sure they’ve been invited to upload their recommendation to your Common App.
• FAFSA/CSS Profile - Available online beginning October 1st, seniors interested in getting financial aid assistance should fill out the FAFSA. Students applying to highly selective colleges and universities might also need to fill our the CSS Profile.
Once the application is on its way, these other components each have their own due dates by which they must be submitted to the schools. An application that is incomplete and/or missing official documentation cannot and will not be evaluated. It is the student's responsibility to check the status of his/her applications on the respective colleges websites to make sure their application is complete. Colleges communicate with applicants via emails (and text messages as well) so students who don't already do so should check their emails daily.
Last, but not least, don't wait till the last minute to submit your application. If you are ready, do yourself a favor and submit.