Another summer comes to an end and with it the 2018-19 college application process officially begins. On August 1st, the Common App and its new features that further streamline the application process, relaunched after only four days off line. Fill it out early and don't forget to sign the FERPA waiver.
All applicants, regardless of their class rank or academic profile, will be following the same steps in the college application process, so everyone should check the following list to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
• Retake the SAT/ACT - All students should be encouraged to take either, or both tests, at least twice, especially if not happy with the first scores. They are different so read up and decide which one is best suited to you. Don't forget to take advantage of the four FREE test scores that come with each registration. This is especially important for minority applicants.
The next SAT will be Oct. 6th with a registration deadline of Sept 7th. The ACT will be offered on Sept 8th, followed by another on Oct 27th with a Sept 28nd registration deadline. All students should check to see if they are eligible for fee waivers.
• College List - Take the time to create a well-balanced college list of reach, target and safety schools. An applicant should be happy to attend any of the schools they apply to regardless if it is considered a safety. Hint: Take the time to put together a solid list. You'll be glad you did in a few months.
• College Essay - This year's essay prompts are unchanged from 2017-2018, allowing all students many options to tell their own unique story. Highly selective schools and honors programs often ask for supplemental essays, so don't forget to check. Do not take these supplementary essays lightly because they do serve a purpose and don't let the small word count limit fool you. They take time to write properly.
• Letters of Recommendation - If you haven't yet selected which teacher/coach/mentor will be writing your letters of recommendation now is the time to reach out and ask. But don't ask just anyone!
• California Common App - Students interested in going to college in California will need to fill out the University of California application. Review this application carefully as the application requirements are slightly different and there are additional essays to write.
• Coalition Application - An alternative to the Common App, the Coalition Application is accepted by approximately 140 colleges that all meet the same criteria: affordable tuition, need-based aid, and a 6 yr graduation rate of 70% or higher. Not sure which you should use? See what the differences are here.
• Parental Role in the Application Process - Parents are implicated in the college application process, but their roles are well defined and should be respected.
• International Students - Representing a larger percentage of the student population on campuses across the country, these students must start their application process earlier in order to accomplish the additional steps necessary.
Today's college applicant has many tools - College Board and Naviance - and even a choice of applications to use in the process of applying to college. But, with Early Decision, Early Action and Priority application deadlines fast approaching - some as early as Oct 15th - rising high school seniors no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to their college applications as they did during the summer. College Apps Made Easy will continue posting monthly application timelines to help everyone stay organized and avoid the most common college application mistakes, but never hesitate to ask me for help.