Monday, November 14, 2011

A Few Helpful Hints as You Submit Your Applications

By: Kathryn Miller

Fingers are flying on keyboards across the country as students are submitting their college applications. There is a flurry of activity for Early Action and Early Decision November deadlines, but many of you still have work to do if you are applying Regular Decision.

If you have encountered some confusion, frustration or even technical difficulties during your application process, here are a few quick suggestions:

  • Be sure to print out your applications. If you are using the Common Application, be sure to print each supplement.  Word and character count may appear differently on the print preview for essays you have downloaded, even if your documents appear to be within the guidelines.  You may need to do some quick editing.
  • If you are having problems entering your information or printing, it may be your browser. Chapman University has a PowerPoint on its website, with suggestions on which browser to use.  Check if your colleges have similar information.  The Common Application also lists options for both Mac and PC.  
  • Be consistent in your formats.  When you are entering your courses, awards and extra-curricular activities, use the same format for capitalization, punctuation and descriptions.  For example, if you list "Team Captain (11 - 12)," don't list the next one as "Vice President - Jr yr."
  • Enter your Social Security number.  This is especially important if you are applying for any kind of financial aid.  You will need to know your Social Security number from here on out as you head to college or apply for a job.  Enter it into your phone under a name you will remember!
  • Be sure to request your letters of recommendation and transcripts early.  Each school has its own way of handling these, so be sure you have checked with your counseling or post-grad office. Also, be sure to follow up on your Naviance account or by checking with the office to make sure everything was sent.
  • Be sure to print our your applications.  No, I am not repeating this in error.  Do a final print and review with your parents or responsible adult to make sure that all the personal information is correct.  You should always print out any important documents and your college applications definitely fall into that category.
  • Read your email!  Each college will send you an acknowledgment that your application was received.  They will probably continue to send you other important emails.  Check your email regularly and set up labels to file each of your schools so you know where to find their emails.
  • Check on each of your college's websites to make sure that all your information was received. If it wasn't, follow up to find out why not.  Your applications are your responsibility, so follow up to make sure each of your schools has received your application, test scores, recommendations and transcripts.

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