College Admissions is getting real real now. Here’s your Mid-October Checklist and Reminders.
Happy October Seniors (and your parents if you’re reading!),
This is just to check in with a checklist to make sure you’re keeping up.
______1. Standardized Test Scores: If you’re sending your test scores, be sure to check on the college’s websites and see if they can be self-reported or if they need to be officially submitted from College Board or ACT. If they need to be officially submitted, do that now for early applications.
______2. Interviews: Be sure to check the college websites and see if you need to apply by a certain date for interviews or if you need to sign up for an interview separately from just submitting your application. Check spam folders. Also, make sure you have your voicemail set up. Often your interviewer will try to leave a message. Here’s my interview post from last year — I’ll be updating it in November, but this will get you started. TIP: Make sure you write a thank you note that afternoon or evening and mention something specific the interviewer discussed.
______3. Update School Counselor/Naviance or whatever admissions platform your school uses: Check in with your school counselor and update them on the status of your applications. Keep Naviance (or your school platform) updated when you’ve submitted if your school uses Naviance. Stop by and say hello!
______4. Letters of Recommendation: Check in with your letter writers and let them know if you’ll be applying early for any of your colleges. Give a gentle reminder about deadlines if you see that they might be behind. Be sure to write thank-you letters later in the fall. Here’s my Letters of Recommendation Post in case you still need to find out more about LORs.
_____5. Engagement with Colleges: Colleges are making virtual sessions and tours more available now than ever before. Be sure to sign up and attend at least one for every school you’re applying to — especially before interviews and writing your Why College essays. Read the information they’re sending you in emails. If they have a Why College Essay, mention something you learned in the tour/info session and in an email. Other ways to engage and demonstrate interest:
_____EMAIL YOUR ADMISSIONS OFFICERS: If you haven’t yet reached out to the admissions officer for your area from your school, I suggest you do so. Don’t be afraid of introducing yourself and asking any questions you might have.
_____VIRTUAL TOURS: Another reminder to go on a college tour and info session hosted by the college for every college you’re applying to. Be sure to sign up with your college email. If you’re applying to Plan 2 at UT Austin or other honors programs (especially at UT Austin), be sure to go on those tours too. Mention something specific from the tour in your supplemental essays.
_____REQUEST INFO: If you haven’t yet, request info from every college you’re applying to — also request info from honors programs and specific majors. Use your college email.
_____FOLLOW COLLEGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Use an acceptable account, preferably with your name if possible (no red cups, no alcohol, no smoking, no racist or misogynistic posts — be smart) and follow your colleges’ admissions offices on Instagram and Twitter. They put out important information that can be helpful with your application.
_____CHECK OUT EPIC: You can go here and connect with admissions officers by leaving them a short message and you can hear what they have to say.
______6. College Portals: Make an account on the portal once you’ve submitted your application and received information back from them. Check to make sure your materials have been received. Make a note of this on your big application spreadsheet.
______7. Spam Email Folder: If you’ve already started applying to colleges — or even if you haven’t, get in the habit of checking your spam folders regularly. And, make sure that you’ve added any of the email addresses they use to your “not spam” list. Students often miss important messages from colleges in those folders. Parents, try to help out with this. If you’re not on your child’s email that they’re using for admissions, be sure to remind them to check regularly. Often, they’ll send info about specific dates and deadlines that aren’t published on Common APP.
______8. Financial Aid: This is for you too, Parents: If you’re applying for financial aid, both FAFSA and CSS profiles are open. Gather your materials and make accounts. Here’s a link to a post with all my financial aid information and resources.
______9. Essays: Get organized with your supplemental essays and get going with the personal essay if you haven’t finished it yet. Reach out if you need suggestions to get motivated or you feel lost. For schools that have “why college” or “why major” essays, be sure you are doing your research (professors — maybe even reach out to one, programs, classes, clubs, read the school newspaper, school missions statement, traditions, etc… Here’s a link to my Supplementary Essays Post. And here’s my Personal Essay Post.
_____10. Big To-Do List: Be sure to look through your Big To-Do List, check off, or highlight any tasks you’ve completed. Here’s a link to one you can use.
_____11. Common App, Coalition App, Apply Texas, MIT, and other App Platforms you may need: Start filling out the basic information if you haven’t yet. For Apply Texas, you only need to fill out the basic info once for your first school, then when you’ve completed that application, you copy it to start your second school to answer the school-specific responses (similar to Coalition and Common apps).
_____12. Activities and Resumes: It’s time to start getting organized with filling out your Activities sections. Also, check to see where you’ll need to send a resume. Here’s a link to my How to Fill out the Activities Post.
_____ 13. Senior Year Course List: Make sure your senior year course list has all the courses you need for the colleges you’re applying to. Most highly selective colleges like to see: 4 years of English, 4 years of Science (including Bio, Chem, and Physics), 4 years of History or Social Science, 4 years of Math (with Calculus), and 4 years of Foreign Language. If you don’t have these, check the recommended course lists for the colleges you’re applying to. TIP: If you need a course, you could possibly do a one-semester next spring either at your school or at Community College, but you’ll need to be signed up for it to list it.
_____14. College List: If you haven’t completed your college list yet, here’s a link to my How to Create a College List post, and here’s a link to My Lists of College Lists post.
_____15. Breathe: Remind yourself to stop and find stillness and to take a breath. These are crazy times, made even crazier as you apply to college, but it’s all temporary. In less than a year, you’ll be in college and moving forward into the next phase of your life. Take walks. Listen to music. Have dance parties. Keep your balance even as you push through these next couple of weeks. Here’s a link to a list of ways to deal with your stress and anxiety about admissions.
Good luck! You got this!