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Step 3 for Seniors: Organize the Application Process

Posted on 10/26/2016, by Dr. Ellen Fithian to Parents of 12th Graders (0 comments)


If you’ve been following along with this series and taking the recommended actions, your senior has composed his final college list and determined a net price estimate for each school. (If you’re not quite there yet, you might want to go back to Step 1 for Seniors: Compose the College List  and Step 2: Contemplating College Costs.)

Now that you know where he’s applying, it’s time to help him organize the process. There are two parts to this.

1. Tend to Testing:

Perform a Standardized Test Audit: First, go through the list of schools and check the testing requirements for each one.  Most four year colleges require the SAT, and most will also accept the ACT in its place, although some require that it be the ACT with Writing. (If your senior is choosing to submit the ACT instead of the SAT and is applying to one of those schools, she'll need to re-take the test with the Writing section.)

SAT Subject Tests: Some competitive colleges also require two to three SAT Subject Tests. Generally students can take whichever ones they choose, but some engineering programs require a math and a quantitative science – either chemistry or physics. For more information on SAT Subject Tests, read Admission Testing in the Guide section of this website.

Register for Remaining Tests: If your senior needs to take further tests, register for them now.

SAT: December 3rd test: Deadline for regular registration November 3rd - late registration November 22nd. 

ACT:  December 10th test: Deadline for regular registration - November 4th, late registration November 18th. 

Send Scores: Once you’ve determined that your teen has taken all necessary tests – or registered to take any that are still needed, be sure to have her send official score reports of her SATs and ACTs to all her colleges.

Your senior can send scores from multiple SAT tests - and select which ones to send - by using the College Board's Score Choice option. To learn more about this, click here. By contrast, a student needs to submit a separate score report for each ACT test he wants to have sent to a college. To learn more about ACT score reporting, click here.

2. Check  Deadlines:

The college application process is chock full of deadlines, including many you may not even know you need to look for, like early deadlines to be considered for honors programs or merit scholarships. Don’t make the mistake of having your senior complete applications in a haphazard fashion; by the time she gets around to completing her fourth or fifth application in late December, she may discover that she’s already missed an important deadline.

Need convincing? The following are some examples of early deadlines for programs or scholarships you wouldn’t want to miss. (Don’t ask me why the southern universities seem most likely to impose these early deadlines.)
November 1:  George Mason University’s Honors College and merit scholarships
November 15th:  University of South Carolina 's Honors College/Top scholarships
December 1: Richmond Scholars Program at University of Richmond (ranges from full tuition to full tuition plus room and board)

Enough said? Here’s how you can avoid missing important deadlines.

Make a Spreadsheet: Create a spreadsheet with the following columns (you’ll want to abbreviate the titles):

  • College name
  • Deadline for any early application program
  • Deadline to be considered for merit scholarship, if applicable
  • Deadline to be considered for Honors Program, if applicable
  • Deadline for Regular Application

After you've made your spreadsheet, fill it. Go online to each college to get the necessary information.

Create a College Calendar: If your family calendar looks anything like the one I had when my kids were teens, every day is crammed full of reminders about practices, projects, and appointments. Recording the deadline for the honors program at Dream U on such a calendar could easily result in your noticing it at 5 o’clock that day - as your senior heads out to her field hockey game.

A better idea is to create a dedicated college calendar that you and your child can access. It could be as simple as an extra monthly calendar you pick up at the dollar store or an electronic calendar you can share. Researching deadlines at the colleges on your teen's list and placing them on a calendar puts him in control of the application process. It not only helps him avoid missing deadlines, but also allows him to make smart decisions about which applications should be completed first.

Of course the first applications your senior should complete are the ones to an early decision or early action school, but once those are done, urge your teen to get started on the rest. Best of luck.


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Posted on 10/26/2016, by Dr. Ellen Fithian (0 comments)

 

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