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College Admission Checklist

UserMark time11 September,2015

When the Common Application for 2015-2016 admission cycle went live, what should have been a joyful exploration of colleges for the students become overwhelming, anxiety-ridden race against time. You must be asking yourselves how to combat this mind-boggling situation? Pretty easy! Here is a brief guide to the anatomy of college application.

College Admission Checklist
  1. College application form

To fill in all the blank college application forms, you may need to arrange your documents and take help from your parents. Most colleges invite students to apply online, but paper applications are available as well.

Remember: Proofread it twice or thrice before submitting it


  • Gather the application form
  • Request info in application forms
  • Note down the application deadline
  • Note down the early application deadline.
  1. Your high school transcript:

The record of the classes you have attended to and your grades are the most important things that you need in your college application. Your school is responsible for sending your transcript along with a school profile directly to the college you are applying to. Enquire your counselor or principle on how to arrange this.

Remember: Check the transcript for errors before it is sent.


  • Request for the high school transcript
  • Request for the mid-year grade report.
  1. Final transcript

At the end of your senior years, your high school will send your final transcript (grades of 9-12) along with the school report to the college you have decided to attend. This transcript reflects what classes you have attended and whether you have maintained the grades in the last year in high school.

Remember: The school report and counselor recommendation tells a lot about you. With your final transcript, the colleges evaluate your performance in 10th, 11th and 12th grades.


  • School report
  • Counselor recommendation
  • Official high school transcript.
  1. Admission test scores

Some colleges require or recommend that you send scores from tests like SAT and ACT. Colleges use admission tests scores differently because each college has its own admission process. Some colleges publish the average scores of their students.

Remember: Colleges accept scores only from the testing organizations themselves. It is wise to visit the testing organization websites for more detailed information.


  • Send SAT scores
  • Send SAT subject test scores
  • Send ACT scores
  • Send AP scores.
  1. Letters of recommendation

Most colleges demand the students to present a letter of recommendation from their teachers or other adults who know them well. Inform your references well in advance about the deadlines to write your letter of recommendation.

Remember: If you want to give a brief of your achievements to help them write about you, give the details early so that they can finish the writing within the deadline.


  • Request for recommendation
  • Send thank you notes.
  1. Essay

Your admission essay is a chance for you to give your admission officers a better view of you: your strengths and weaknesses. You may get sweating palms when writing an essay admission essay. But there are many writing services that help you write an excellent quality admission essay. is one of the writing companies that assist you to deliver remarkable quality admission essay.

Remember: Before sending your essay to the college, edit and proofread it carefully.


  • Know the essay regulations and specifications properly
  • Write the essays
  • Edit your essay for structure, style and flow
  • Proofread your essay for spelling and grammar
  • Have at least two people to read your essays.
  1. Auditions and portfolios

This point is applicable when you are applying for music, dance or theater programs. When applying for the disciplines mentioned above, your colleges want to see samples of you work. This means you may need to audition and show your sample work depicting your artistic ability as part of your application.

Remember: Each college boasts its own process of accepting portfolios or even taking auditions.


  • Know whether portfolio is needed (mainly portfolios are accepted for scholarships purpose)
  • Know the guidelines for appearing for a audition or sending portfolio (online/physically accepted)
  • Choose your work wisely (for portfolio)
  • Rehearse before your auditions.
  1. Interviews

An interview is a good idea even it is not required. It shows how serious you are about the college and gives you a chance to connect with your admission officer. Even if the college is too far away, you may be able to interview with a college alumni.

Remember: Be yourself, don’t try to answer questions based on what your admission officer wants to hear from you. It should be about you, not about them.


  • Interview at college campus
  • Send thank you note to interviewer(s).
  1. Follow-ups

It is very important to be in regular contact with high school guidance counselor. It is advisable not to assume that he or she will send out the scores on your behalf. If you are applying to an eminent university like Harvard and Yale, sending your GPA on your own without any collaboration with your teachers and counselors is a waste of time and effort.

Remember: Aggressive strategies like personal communication might be pointless and hurt the chances of one’s acceptance.


  • Make copies of all college application material
  • Apply online
  • Pay application fees
  • Confirm receipt applications material
  • Send additional material (if required)
  • Tell your counselor that you have applied.
  1. Financial aid

Now it is the time for applying for financial aid, but first you have to know the type of financial applications you will have to complete. In USA, students won’t be eligible for financial aid unless they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

Remember: Gather as much of literature as possible, ask questions and speak to other students. Do your research carefully.


  • Priority financial aid deadline
  • Regular financial aid deadline
  • Mail FAFSA (in US)
  • Submit CSS/financial aid profile (if needed)
  • Submit college aid form (if needed)
  • Submit state aid form (if needed).
  1. After you send your applications

When you submit your application, the college creates a file for you as a part of the college application process. If you have submitted a paper application, they will scan the application and dump it in their database for further usage.

Once you hit the ‘send’ button, simply click on the link provided by your college to see whether your file is completed.

Remember: Look over your social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Vines. What do they say about you? If they are not appropriate to share with your admission officer, it should not be on your page. Remember colleges always do their homework too.


  • Receive letter from office of admission
  • Receive financial aid award letter
  • Meet deadline to accept admission and send deposit
  • Accept financial aid offer
  • Notify the colleges you will not attend.

FAQs: College Application Process

Here are few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that commonly arise in students’ mind regarding college application process. Let’s see what are they and get their answers here:

  • When should I start?

The summer before your senior year is the best time to start. Most students choose fall of their senior year to do all their college application work.

  • How to begin with the admission process?

Find out what do you need while applying to a college and start collecting those material. Maintain a folder for each college you are applying to. In each folder, make a checklist of things that you need to complete in your application process.

  • Should I apply early?

If you are determined about your choice, then applying early would play in your favor. If you are not sure, keep in mind that some early application plans require you to commit early. The reason is you may want to keep your options open.

  • How many colleges should I apply to?

Five to eight is a recommended number for the students. It is fine if you are stretching your preferences to apply for colleges. But remember, most should be realistic matches.

  • Which one is the best option: Online or paper application?

It varies from one college to another. You need to evaluate which type is preferred in the college you are applying to. Most colleges prefer online application because they are easier to review, maintain and access. There are some colleges that also offer discounts if you apply online. Whichever method you use, make sure you inform your school counselor so that your transcripts should be sent to the right college.

  • Should I send additional material?

It is advisable to express all your qualifications and qualities in the material requested. The reason is colleges spend a great deal of time to study the applications to make sure they get all information from an applicant. If you have something additional to send, talk to your school counselor first.

  • Is it OK to use the same material for different college application?

Definitely! You can easily submit the same admission essay to different college application purpose as far as the topic is relevant. There is no need to produce brand new college application essay for each college, instead you invest more time in building remarkable essay that reflects you as a person.

  • Should I apply to a college if my admission test scores or grades are below their requirements?

Yes, the admission scores displayed are averages or a range – not cut-offs. Remember, colleges review the classes you have taken, your activities in school, your recommendation letter, your written essay to get the overall picture of you and not just your admission test scores. Colleges look for every type of students with talent, abilities, and admission test scores are only one part of the process.

  • Should I even bother to apply for a college that is out of my financial range?

Definitely! The reason is there are various financial aid packages that you can attain. With that, you pay far less from the sticker price. So don’t let go any potential option just because of financial issues.

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