Congratulations on submitting your early college applications. They represent hundreds of hours, no- thousands of hours of preparation beginning with the first days of high school. Your story crafted to fit approximately a six-page application is a celebration of all that you have accomplished.

As you have heard me say in the past, the finish line is near but you are not over it yet! The New York Marathoners just finished on Sunday, but you need to keep on “training”.

What’s Next?

1. Application Submission Follow-up

Remember that you are responsible for follow-up with all colleges to make sure that they have received required documents. Upon submission of your application, you can click onto the green check mark on the Common Application Dashboard to find out what the college advises as next steps. Most likely, you will receive an email from the college with an account link for you to check to see if your application is complete or not. You’ll have access to a complete list of what’s been received. Check with the appropriate individual if something is missing- a teacher recommendation (teacher), a transcript (guidance counselor). etc.

Required Documents (Depending on college)

  • Transcript
  • First Quarter Grades (See also below)
  • Standardized Test Scores
  • Common Application, Coalition Application, College Application
  • Recommendations
  • Portfolio

You are responsible for making sure that each college application is complete. The college is not. Your high school is not. Your parents are not.

Do not panic if something is missing, especially in the first week of submission. The admissions offices are busily putting together thousands of files. However, call them with questions if you’re concerned about anything!

2. Admission Office Communication

Once you’ve submitted- make sure to herald your application! Call or send an email to your admissions rep that you have already been communicating with. If there is no rep assigned, then send the email to the office of admissions where it will be placed in your file.

Remember that you are reminding the rep that you are very excited about a particular college and why. If the college is your number one choice, make sure to let them know. You should highlight in the communication what you have accomplished over the past couple of months related to first quarter grades, a recent visit, a meeting at the college fair, change in standardized testing, an athletic accomplishment, etc. Human interaction is important. Positive or consistent grade trends are very important to showcase.

3. Interviews

Stay on top of it!

Finish finalizing interviews that are allowed for early application submission or set up interviews for Regular Decision applications.

Many colleges offer alumni interviews after you’ve submitted an application. Do not ignore- take advantage of any opportunity to show your enthusiasm and interest. Not interviewing can negatively affect admissions, for sure. I’ve seen that very clearly in admissions stats over the past few years. Demonstrated interest continues to be key!

4. Standardized Tests

If you are waiting to receive scores from the October ACT or November SAT, please review college requirements to make final decisions on what to report.

5. First Quarter Grades

To send or not to send- some schools require first quarter grades; check your college list- if you’re unsure, give admissions a call. If they are not required but you have remained consistent in your performance or better, then you want to have these grades sent immediately. It’s a huge plus to show a strong senior year performance. Ask your guidance counselor what the appropriate steps are to get these grades sent.

6. Regular Decision Applications (Not read until February unless Rolling)

Keep working on a timeline to complete all RD essays and applications by Thanksgiving. You want to be finished with your work before the holidays! With two federal holidays in the next week- it’s a perfect time to wrap up applications.

7. Plan A and Plan B- Remain Calm! You Have Control!

Stay calm. Know you have done everything possible to ensure admittance for your Plan A. However, if Plan B has to be enacted, that’s okay- you will be prepared.


Stay positive! Very exciting times are ahead! Almost at that finish line!

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