The college application process might seem complicated, but it’s not impossible. The secret to meeting the requirements and deadlines for all the schools on your list is staying organized. As a college admissions counselor, I’ve outlined my best advice for every high school senior applying to college this fall. From username spreadsheets to regional contacts, each tip will help you stay on track this admissions season.
- Compile a spreadsheet of all colleges where you’re applying. With each school, add a checklist of which materials are required to complete the application. Keep in mind, this will likely vary school to school. Once each piece is submitted, check the item off the list and date it to keep a record of submission.
(Note: Just because an item was submitted, it DOES NOT mean the college received it. See my next tip for ideas on how to stay on top of your application.)
- Check the student portal and read your emails! These are the main tools colleges use to communicate important information to students. Once an application is submitted, most schools provide a username and password for access to their student online portal. This portal will allow you to check if the college has received your necessary documents, and if your application is complete. Many schools also use these portals to post admission decisions.
(P.S. Adding usernames and passwords to your college spreadsheet will help keep you even more organized!)
- Never hesitate to contact the college with questions about the admissions process. We recommend you first bring your questions to your high school counselor, and then the college’s website. If, after checking these sources you still need more information, contact the college directly via phone or email. You should be able to find all admissions office contact information on the school’s website.
- Find the admissions counselor responsible for your student’s high school. At many universities, each admissions counselor in the undergraduate admissions office is assigned a specific territory to manage. This means that this counselor is the expert contact on all applications that come from your high school. Once you find out your regional representative, make a connection via email, as this person will be your best resource through the application process. If the college does not have an assigned regional representative for your high school, continue to use the general admissions office email or phone number for further questions about the application.(Note: While most admission counselors will speak with parents or family members, it is great when we hear from the student themselves! It shows that they are taking ownership of this process, and ready to handle the responsibility of being a college student.)