The final days of October are almost here, which means that the 1st set of application deadlines arrives in less than 2 weeks! Many students are applying to colleges with a November 1 deadline, so I wanted to share a checklist of priorities to keep in mind for your Early Action and Early Decision schools.

1) High School Transcripts: 

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 the situation with your college 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, please 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 Recommendations:

Please speak with your teachers and 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 teachers thank you notes!

3) Standardized Test Scores:

Student should send SAT/ACT scores for 11/1 application deadlines if they are needed. If you took the October SAT and are awaiting the results, they should arrive on October 28. It may still be a good idea to send your current scores to colleges so that your 11/1 application completes on time. Of course students who are applying to test-optional colleges for Nov 1/Nov 15 deadlines do not have to send any scores.

4) College Interviews: 

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

5) Connecting with Your Colleges:

If you have not had a chance to visit a college on your list or you think a 2nd visit would be helpful, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with the colleges this fall. Many college admission offices are open for tours and information sessions M-F, as well as on Saturdays. College admission representative visits are also underway in high schools and usually continue through mid-November. Please check your Naviance account and/or with your school counselor to learn more about upcoming visits. Lastly, many colleges host receptions for prospective students and families at local hotels and other venues. Please make every attempt to connect with your colleges of interest as your schedule permits. Colleges appreciate when students make an effort to engage with them, and all of these opportunities can enable you to learn more about your schools and better determine if they are a good match

6) 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 usually due around the admission application deadlines. You may be required to submit the CSS Profile now and the FAFSA after January 1, 2015. Please note that the 15-16 FAFSA must be completed for students who are beginning college in Fall 2015 and want federal financial aid. This version of the FAFSA is not available prior to January 1. All deadlines and other information should be posted on the colleges’ financial aid websites.

Get excited to start your application process, don’t feel stressed, and remember that a carefully balanced college list yields good outcomes!

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