Last Minute Common Application Tips
Mid-December. The home stretch of college admissions season.
Regular Decision deadlines are rapidly approaching, and we know that high school seniors may be feeling some extra pressure and anxiety about the process. Here are some Common Application tips to help get you over the finish line and submit your remaining applications.
1. Make sure you have everything you need.
Schools are closing for winter break. Do you have everything you need from your high school for your application? Be sure you and your school counselor are on the same page about what needs to be submitted to each school. If you have not yet asked your counselor or teachers to write your letters of recommendation, ask immediately – and politely!
2. Carefully review all essays.
When applying to multiple colleges with similar deadlines, students will likely be writing and finalizing a few supplemental essays simultaneously. While repurposing essays for similar prompts is an efficient way to approach them, be very careful as you put them into the application. Students must make sure that each essay has the correct school-specific details like courses, program names, and even school nicknames. It never reflects well on an applicant if they write about why Boston University is the perfect fit for them for the “Why NYU?” essay, or about being a proud Hoosier at the University of Michigan. Plus, even when applying to 12 colleges, students should aim to make each college essay feel as if the college is your first-choice school.
3. Review your application objectively.
Will admissions get a clear picture of you? Are your life experiences and aspirations communicated well? Have you left out anything significant? You will not be there to answer any outstanding questions for college admissions while they are evaluating your application, so make sure it can stand on its own with no further explanation needed. Check and recheck every section several times, from personal information to activities, and make sure you didn’t omit any important information.
4. Proofread, proofread, and proofread.
Do not skip this step of our Common Application tips! Also ask a parent or teacher to read over each section, including your personal information, activities, and essays. Advisors at International College Counselors have caught last minute mistakes, including misspelled home addresses and names. We recommend that you print out your application and review it on paper. Then, preview and review your final application again one more time online before you submit it. Once your application is submitted, it is incredibly difficult to make any changes, so be sure you are happy with it.
5. Submit as soon as possible.
Uploading and submitting your application takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute to click the submit button. Unexpected problems are known to happen. Internet outages happen. Technology can slow down, and even crash, when many students are trying to submit at the same time. Don’t depend on colleges offering deadline extensions—even if the issue occurs on their end. Finish and submit early!
6. Check that all materials have been submitted.
After submitting your application, most colleges will send you a separate email with information to set up your applicant portal. Be sure to keep track of these links and logins so that you can keep track of any missing materials, from your transcript to your test scores, to complete your application. You should check your applicant portal regularly to stay on top of any updates or requests.
Need a last-minute review of your essays or application, or are you looking for other personal consulting to meet college admissions deadlines? We’re open over winter break! Contact International College Counselors with any questions you have via phone at 954-414-9986 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.