Hello Early Bird Applicants!
It’s Celebration Time! The first major early app finish line has passed, and I know you’re all ready for a break and a deep breath. So…. You did it!
You successfully completed and submitted your first round of early applications! There is so much for you to be proud of right now, and I want you to take a minute and acknowledge how far you’ve come and just what you’ve done. Submitting your applications is prime celebration time. Congratulate yourself for all the hard work you’ve done even to be able to apply to college – all the classes you’ve taken, homework you’ve done, tests you’ve prepped for, and activities you’ve balanced! Then, acknowledge how you’ve organized your applications, written about your activities, and explored who you are in your essays. That’s all worth a lot of ice cream, salty snacks, pats on the back, and so, so, so many high fives to all of you!!!
Some REAL IMPORTANT basic advice:
- Make sure your supplemental essays were submitted. Check Rice and U of Richmond for sure. There might be other schools where they don’t automatically submit. Check the pdf that was sent to the colleges. If those pesky supplementals didn’t submit, don’t panic; just do it right now.
- Most colleges have some grace period for your supplemental materials, so don’t freak out if your transcript and other materials aren’t there yet (Not all, though, so you need to check that on the college’s website).
- Don’t go back and reread your apps over and over — you’ll find typos and little mistakes. You’re human, and humans make mistakes.
- Don’t panic — they know mistakes happen. They happen every year.
- But, if you do happen to find something that’s driving you batshit crazy or that really must be fixed, read from the college how to best update your application — usually, it’s on the portal or by email, but you’ll need to read the specific directions from each school.
- If the college doesn’t say or you haven’t received portal info yet, you can send an “Oops” email and see if that works. Here’s how I suggest writing an “Oops” email.
- Send it to the general admissions email address and a copy to your regional admissions counselor if there is one.
- Use good judgment about whether to send it or not. For a typo or two or three, I’d leave it. Read above about their knowing you’re a human. Not a perfection machine.
- If you totally uploaded the wrong info or copied and pasted the wrong essay altogether, an “Oops” email might be worth a shot to you.
- Attach the update in a PDF. Make sure it has the full name you used on your application and the title of the piece you’re sending them to replace (Personal Essay, Activities Section, Additional Info, Supplemental Essay (add the prompt), etc).
Now — It’s time to let those early baby apps fly! You’ve poured your heart and soul into bringing them about and nurturing them; you have to let them go do their thing and make you proud.
So what’s next? Even after your apps are in, though, you need to be sure you’re covering a few things.
There are a few things you need to be taking care of — even those of you who’ve submitted all your applications and you think you’re done :) Be sure to:
- Open every email from all the colleges where you’ve applied, and click on all the links. This is where they will share important info about your application with you.
- Check Your Portals: Most colleges have some sort of portal set up where you can upload any info you might need to share with them or they can send you messages. It usually takes a day to a few days to up to a week before you get the portal, and not all colleges have this; some just use email, but you should still be on the lookout for portal information from all your colleges and once you receive it, sign in and keep your login info handy! Be sure to check your promotional, social, and spam email folders. The portal emails often get stuck there. Provide any info colleges say they still need.
- Know that it can take up to a week for supplemental materials to be submitted. Add these columns to your spreadsheets so you can keep up with who needs what. Check your portals regularly, but not obsessively :) — to make sure they’re not missing anything. That’s how colleges will communicate with you.
- Update Naviance/Cialfo/Maiai/Scoir/Your School Counselor: Make sure you have checked that you’ve “applied” on your high school’s application platform or method they use (and for the early admissions option if you haven’t done that). (If you’ve never heard of Naviance, Cialfo, Scoir, etc, it probably just means your school doesn’t use that platform for applications, so no worries there.)
- Follow up with your School Counselor: Make sure that all is good there and that y’all are on the same page and you’ve done everything they’re expecting of you. Make sure they have a list of all the colleges where you’ve applied early and everything they need from you.
- Check-in with your Recommenders: Send them a brief email to let them know you’ve applied to your early schools, and how excited you are, and how much you appreciate their helping you on this journey. This can serve as a gentle reminder that they might need to send along your LOR, and you can see if they need anything from you to facilitate sending letters if they haven’t yet done so. Be sure to send them a thank-you note at some point this fall. An email is fine, but teachers do love a handwritten note.
- Check for Interview Info: If your early colleges offer interviews, be sure to be on the lookout for emails, texts, and voicemail messages. Check all your email folders, search for the word interview, look in your junk text messages, set up your voicemail with an appropriate message, and make sure you have space to receive those messages.
- Interview: Do the interview. Stay tuned for a post this weekend about virtual and in-person interviews :)
- Send Test Scores: If you haven’t yet submitted test scores (if you are submitting test scores) and the colleges require official scores, do so now — even for your regular decision schools. Don’t wait and give yourself that stress.
- Ask Questions: Consider reaching out to your regional admissions officers at the colleges where you’re applying to say hello, introduce yourself, and ask any questions you might have. It’s okay to reach out to them with questions you can’t easily find via Google or on the website. Ask questions of the college’s general admissions office, ask questions on r/ApplyingToCollege, DM me, and ask questions of your high school counselor. Of course, always read the websites, directions, and use Google, but don’t be afraid to reach out and ask — especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Engage with the Colleges: Keep engaging with the colleges. Reach out if you have questions. Go to info sessions and virtual tours if you haven’t already. Check out interesting things to you on their websites. Read the school newspaper.
- Open every email, respond if you can, and click on those special points of interest they want to share with you!!! This is where they share important info with you.
- Recharge your Batteries: get outside, read a book, do yoga, have a dance party in your room, take long walks, hang with your family or friends, have a little bit of a Netflix binge, or meditate!!
- BREATHE: You did it! You’re officially an early app badass and a college applicant!
It’s getting real…
Take care. Be well. Reach out with questions. I look forward to continuing to hear from those of you who like to reach out to me — let me know how it’s going — or if you have questions!
tl;dr: It’s all important info. You need to read it. 😊