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11 Point Checklist for Before You Submit Your College Application
Your college applications are finally complete, and you’re ready to send them off. Whew—congratulations! The hardest part is officially behind you. Before you push that important “Submit” button or put that envelope in the mail, though, make sure that you’ve given everything one last look.
In this post, we’ll outline our 11-point checklist for reviewing your application before you finally submit it. Don’t send your college applications before considering these final touches; the stakes are too high to slack now!
1. Proofread Out Loud
This is the simplest way to give your entire application one last review. Read through the entire thing out loud, even the parts that aren’t complete sentences (like lists of activities). Take care to review things like your mailing address, school name, and specific award titles. These are details that sometimes tend to blend into the background after you’ve reviewed something repeatedly.
If you want to really nail this part, you could even trade applications with a friend and read them aloud to each other. There’s nothing like a fresh pair of eyes to catch a careless typo.
2. Review Your Essay(s) and Ask a Friend to Help
Your essays are one of the single most important pieces of your application. They provide a rare glimpse into who you are a person and give you the opportunity to express yourself using your own voice. For this reason, it’s extra important to make sure that they are squeaky clean. Review your essay meticulously, read it aloud, and have a friend read it aloud back to you to be sure there aren’t any typos or careless errors.
3. Check for Inconsistencies
There are a lot of tiny details that you’ll be glossing over as your fill out college applications, and many of them may not seem very important on their own. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be important to someone reviewing your application, though. You need to double-check all the details of your application to be certain that everything is accurate before you submit it.
In particular, check things like self-reported test scores, and schools awards and honors. These represent details that might be important to an admissions committee and if you misprint your score or spell an award name incorrectly, the admissions committee will at best be confused and at worst suspect that you had ulterior motives or were careless with your application.
4. Check for Omissions
You should also cross check your application for omissions. It helps to have a separate list of awards and honors, and activities that you can cross reference when applying to colleges. You should also consider carefully whether you’ll include additional information or optionals, explain extenuating circumstances, or include a separate portfolio. Try to view your application through the eyes of admissions committee and address any unanswered questions they may have.
5. Confirm Recommendations
You aren’t the only person responsible for submitting important materials for your college application, but you are the person to whom the application matters most. Be sure to double check with your recommenders to confirm that recommendations have been submitted or are on their way. Touching base a few weeks in advance ensures that you won’t get a last minute rushed letter of recommendation.
6. Check Your Portfolio
For students submitting a portfolio or separate arts supplement, you’ll also need to review these materials. If you are uploading a visual arts portfolio, be certain that each file has uploaded correctly, is oriented in the correct direction, and is an accurate depiction of colors and details. If you’re uploading audio or video files, open each and watch or listen to each in its entirety before submitting.
Finally, if you provide links to any outside materials, such as a blog or online portfolio, double check these links and click each to make sure that it’s functional.
7. Touch Base With Special Connections
If you have special connections at a college to which you’re applying, check in with these people during the week before you submit your application. A quick note letting them know that you’re applying to the school and have appreciated their insight and encouragement along the way is generally enough. It usually goes without saying that you’d like them to put in a good word for you, should they have that kind of power, and if they don’t or would rather not get involved, it doesn’t put them in an awkward position.
8. Confirm Transcripts
Transcripts are another aspect of your application that are out of your direct control. Confirm in advance with your guidance counselor that your official transcripts have been submitted to the correct places in advance of important deadlines.
9. Confirm Standardized Testing Score Reports
You have a lot of details to attend to as you iron out the many requirements of college applications. Standardized test scores are usually one of the most important as they are a requirement at many schools.
You can confirm your score reports by logging into your account on the College Board homepage. From your dashboard, click View Details for a specific score report, then select Score Sends from the menu. Here you’ll see a list of the colleges to which you’ve submitted a score report for that test.
10. Review State Residency Requirement Form (if necessary)
If you are applying to a college with residency requirements, you’ll need to confirm that your state residency requirement form is filled out correctly and accurately. If this portion of your application is not completed or is inaccurate you could be deemed ineligible for in-state tuition rates.
11. Read Directions and Sign Your Name!
Finally, read the directions for the application. Create a final checklist for review based on the specific directions for those directions.
Last but not least, sign your name and hit that important submit button!
Polishing up your college applications and ironing all the wrinkles out is no easy task, but you don’t have to do it alone. For another set of eyes, consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s Applications Guidance service. Here, students are paired with a personal admissions specialist who can provide step-by-step guidance through the entire application process, including how to choose the college that’s best for you.