It’s hard to believe that we are already in mid October with the 1st set of application deadlines arriving 3 weeks from today! Many students are applying to colleges with November 1 deadlines, so here is a checklist of priorities to keep in mind for your Early Action and Early Decision schools.

1) High School Transcript and Academic Performance:

A) Please make sure that you view your high school transcript before it is sent to any colleges. If you received an Incomplete Grade in the past or you are awaiting grade changes, please resolve these issues prior to sending the transcript. If you have questions, please address them immediately with your school counselor.

B) Please review your 1st quarter grades for this academic year. If your grades are not consistent with your past academic performance, as in you are experiencing lower grades than normal, please discuss your EA/ED plans with your school counselor. Depending on your situation, it may be wise to postpone applying to your college(s) until Regular Decision if the extra time will enable you to improve your grades.

C) If you have not already requested that your transcript be sent for the 11/1 and/or 11/15 application deadlines, you should do so as soon as possible (as long as Section B above does not apply). In addition, please be mindful of your high school’s deadlines and policies regarding transcript requests. Some schools ask students to submit requests online through their Naviance accounts; other schools require paperwork and a processing fee before transcripts are sent to colleges.

2) Teacher and Guidance Counselor Recommendations:

Please speak with your teachers and guidance counselor to confirm that they are aware of your EA/ED deadlines. You may need to complete steps on Naviance and/or in your Common Application so that teachers can submit their recommendations to colleges electronically. Please check with your school regarding its policies. Once the recommendations are complete, please send your guidance counselor and teachers thank you notes!

3) Standardized Test Scores:

Students should send SAT/ACT scores for the 11/1 application deadline if they are needed.  Score reports cost $11-$12 per college.  If you took the October SAT and are awaiting the results, they should arrive around October 23-24. It may still be a good idea to send your current scores to colleges so that your application completes on time. Of course students who are applying to test-optional colleges for Nov 1 and Nov 15 deadlines do not have to send any scores.

4) College Interviews:

If any of your EA/ED schools offer interviews in your local area or you can travel for an on-campus interview prior to the application deadline, please sign up. You can also register for interviews for your Regular Decision schools, but EA/ED schools should be the priority.

5) Applying for Financial Aid:

If your family is applying for financial aid for EA/ED schools, please check the schools’ financial aid websites now as financial aid applications for EA/ED schools are often due around the same time as admission application deadlines. You may be required to submit the CSS Profile this fall and the FAFSA after January 1, 2014. Please note that the 14-15 FAFSA must be completed for students who are beginning college in Fall 2014 and want federal financial aid. This version of the FAFSA is not available prior to January 1. All deadlines and other financial aid application requirements should be posted on the colleges’ financial aid websites.

Good luck with your applications!

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