November 10, 2010
Many students have started the application process by applying early action or early decision this fall. Others will apply regular decision and may have deadlines of January 1 , February 1, etc. Remember that all deadlines for the application, financial aid (if a private school) and any scholarships (merit aid) are set by each school and are not flexible. The federal financial aid form (FAFSA) should be filled out as soon as possible after January 1.
Students need to stay organized in the process. A spreadsheet is a good way to do this. Information to record includes school name, application deadline, financial aid deadline (if that applies), any school scholarships to be applied for and date, official test scores ordered, (transcript, recommendation letters and school report- these all sent by guidance counselor).
There should also be a spot to check off when your student has heard from the school that they have all the materials. If there is no correspondence, have your child call or e-mail admissions to see if they are all set.
It is really important for your student to get an application out the door even if they are not applying early. If they are not waiting on testing, it makes a lot of sense to get one done now. All the rest will come easier. Tomorrow is a day off from school and a great time to spend a few hours on applications. I recommend using the Common Application when a school participates and once that is filled out, it can be used for other schools with some additions.
It is a good idea to print and preview the Common Application and each school application/ supplement, essays, etc. Many more mistakes can be found from proof reading aloud rather than just reviewing online.
As it gets closer to the holidays, students who have not gotten a head start on their applications will feel the stress and will likely rush through the work. It’s important to get each application just right. Try meeting with your child and help them come up with a schedule of completing their applications with weeks to spare before each deadline. Remember that counselors will all be on vacation and will not be of any help in later December.
It will be a great feeling for the whole family when all applications are completed before the December school break. Great to have at least one done before Thanksgiving.