17 Point Checklist Before Submitting Your College Application

Before you click “SUBMIT”, consider the following checklist and take the time to review your college application very carefully. It is easy to overlook avoidable errors when submitting your college application in a rush.

As an educational consultant, I have caught numerous mistakes in college applications that were sent to me for “final review”. The advice and check list below can help you identify and correct potentially damaging mistakes.

  1. Proofread Your Application Out Loud. Read the entire application slowly and out loud starting with the very first line.
  2. Review Your Essay(s). Make sure you answered the question(s). If it’s a multi-part question, make sure you addressed each part. If you created your essay in Word (or another word processing program), copied it to the on-line application, and then edited it to make it fit, review it extra carefully!
  3. Check for Inconsistencies. For example: Is your desired major offered? Is your desired major or the activity you wrote about in your essay the same as the one list listed in another part of the application? Does your activity list indicate that you spent more time on activities and work than there were waking hours?
  4. Check for Omissions. Did you forget to include something important or relevant? Check your resume and/or inventory of experiences, activities, honors and list of descriptive adjectives.
  5. Review Activity List. Read over your resume (if you have one) and make sure your list of activities is accurate and you haven’t left out anything important. Colleges are particularly interested in leadership, special talents & achievements and commitment over time.
  6. Honors and Awards – Again, review your resume (if you have one) and make sure your list of honors is accurate and that you haven’t left out anything important. Don’t forget to include Honor Societies such as National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
  7. Recommendations – As applicable, list the name, position, relationship and contact information for those providing recommendations. Confirm with those writing recommendations that they will be (or have been) submitted in a timely manner.
  8. CDs / DVDs / Portfolios – If you are providing supplementary materials, make reference to them in the appropriate part of the application, and submit them in the proper manner and on a timely basis.
  9. Special Connections – If you are a student athlete being recruited, or are in touch with a coach, musical or art director, professor or other person of potential influence, keep that person posted on the progress of your application. And, when appropriate, reference him or her in your application.
  10. Transcript – Order your school transcript. Provide a stamped and properly addressed envelope, as necessary.
  11. Self Reported Test Scores & Dates – When applicable, report your SAT and ACT scores, and related test administration dates. Comply with the specific college and university reporting requirements.
  12. Mailing Address – Confirm the mailing address for recommendations, transcripts and supplemental materials. Many colleges and universities have a separate mailing address to their undergraduate admissions office.
  13. Standardized Test Scores – Make arrangements to send SAT and/or ACT test scores directly from CollegeBoard.com and ACT.org. Confirm that colleges will receive your test scores according to their application requirements.
  14. State Residency Requirement Form – Many state colleges and universities require a residency form for in-state candidates who wish to pay in-state tuition.
  15. Special Situations – Many applications ask if you have been dismissed from school, suspended, placed on probation or incurred serious disciplinary action. If so, answer the question honestly and look for an opportunity to explain your situation.
  16. Additional Information – Many applications allow an optional additional essay for candidates who think that additional information will provide a more comprehensive impression. Consider this option (when available) when there is something relevant to add.
  17. Read Directions and Sign Your Name – Many applications require some type of electronic signature. Make sure you read and follow all directions.

Author: Lynn Radlauer Lubell is the Publisher of InLikeMe.com, and the Founder of Admission By Design, a College Consultancy, based in Boca Raton, Florida.

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