May 12, 2015

College Application Checklist for High School Seniors

I've published a college application checklist and timeline to take you through the college admissions process from start to finish. This is the seventh and final article in the series. (Read the first article.)


2-3 months after submitting your college applications

You should have received some kind of notification from schools indicating that your application is complete. If you haven't received one from a school to which you've applied, check in to make sure that your file is, in fact, complete.  

3-6 months after submitting your college applications

You'll start hearing back from schools. The timing of the schools' decisions will depend, in part, upon when you submitted your application. (However, some schools may not even let you know of their decisions until the summer, for their own reasons - their need to fill their incoming class with the strongest applicants possible.)

Getting waitlisted has become more common in recent years. If you've been waitlisted from a school that you really want to attend, send a Letter of Continued Interest. Also be sure to provide them with any important updates to your application file. These may include grades you've recently received, awards, extracurriculars, employment changes, etc. You may also consider submitting an additional letter of recommendation. If possible, visit the schools if you haven't already, if for no reason other than to provide additional evidence of your interest.

If you accept an offer of admission from a school, be sure to withdraw your application from those to which you've applied but will not be attending. Aside from being proper etiquette, you're actually required to do this.

Evaluate acceptance offers as well as any accompanying offers of financial aid. Consider the school's U.S. News ranking, the cost of living in the area where the school is located, and whether the scholarship offered by the school is conditional or guaranteed. It's especially important to consider the school's employment statistics for recent graduates, including the percentage of graduates employed full-time in a job where a degree is required or preferred.

After deciding where to attend college 

Relax! You did it. Now all you have to do is make it through college. Enjoy.

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