College Application Checklist

Find the right college for you.

Junior Summer: ─Do Before Applying to College Checklist

  • Set up a professional-sounding email address.
  • Create a balanced list of reach, match, and safety colleges.
  • Go to the application website.
  • Note the regular application deadline.
  • Note the early application deadline.

Junior Year: Take Tests and Other Exams for Admission

  • Find out if an admission test is required.
  • Take an admission test, if required.
  • Take other required or recommended tests (e.g., AP Exams, IB exams).
  • Send admission test scores, if required, with your application.
  • Send other test scores.
  • Retest by summer of junior year or fall of senior year.
student looking at binder outside

Early Senior Year: Get Letters and Essay Ready.

  • Request recommendation letters. Provide a résumé for reference.
  • Send thank-you notes to recommendation writers.
  • Start the essay drafting and revision process 2 months prior to the application deadline.
  • Draft initial essay.
  • Proofread essay for spelling and grammar.
  • Have 2 people read your essay.
  • Revise your essay.
  • Proofread your revision.

Fall of Senior Year: Make a Campus Visit. Apply for Financial Aid.

  • Interview at the college campus, if required.
  • Submit FAFSA® if eligible.
  • Submit CSS PROFILE if needed.
  • Make a note of the priority financial aid deadline.
  • Make a note of the regular financial aid deadline.
  • Submit college aid form if needed.
  • Submit a state aid form if needed.
  • Check the college's financial aid website to see if you need to submit any additional institution forms.

Submit the Application. Pay Fees by Deadlines.

  • Complete college application.
  • Save copies of your application and application materials.
  • Pay application fee. Submit an application fee waiver if eligible.
  • Submit application.
  • Request high school transcript to be sent.
  • Request midyear grade report to be sent.
  • Confirm receipt of application materials by checking your application status online.
  • Send additional material if needed.
  • Tell your school counselor that you applied.
  • Receive letter from admissions office.

Senior Spring: Make Your Selections.

  • Apply for housing and meal plans, if applicable.
  • Receive financial aid award letter.
  • Accept financial aid offer.
  • Notify whichever colleges you’re not planning to attend.


What things do you need to provide in the college application process?

When applying to college, you’ll need to provide information regarding personal details, your academic background, your extracurricular activities, and achievements you want to highlight. You’ll also need to submit standardized test scores and letters of recommendation, if required. Along with that, you’ll want to submit any required essays, making sure they highlight your aspirations and your personality. You can even strengthen your application by including additional information about yourself and a résumé.

Most colleges will require an application fee. If you require financial assistance to cover this fee, ask your school counselor about application fee waivers.

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What are five things you need to know about college application process?

When navigating college admissions requirements, consider these five points:

  • Go through each college's admissions requirements, including transcripts, test scores, essays, and recommendations.
  • Pay close attention to submission deadlines to ensure you deliver all required documents on time.
  • Familiarize yourself with the admissions criteria, including academic performance, extracurricular activities, and personal attributes.
  • Check out the available financial aid options, such as scholarships and grants. Follow the designated application timelines.
  • Visit the colleges you're interested in. Take advantage of any interview opportunities to express your interest and gain valuable insights into the institutions.

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Is the admissions process the same for all colleges?

The admissions process can differ between institutions. Colleges you apply to may ask for standardized test scores and recommendation letters. Or they may have more specific requirements. Before you even begin an application, you’ll need to review the admissions guidelines of each college you plan to apply to and personalize your application to their needs.

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How important are extracurricular activities in the college admissions process?

Participating in extracurricular activities can significantly influence the college admissions process. Colleges seek students who aren’t only academically accomplished but also have a diverse range of interests and a demonstrated dedication to their passions. Being actively involved in clubs, sports, community service, and leadership roles can positively impact your application and highlight your potential contributions to the college community.

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Are interviews required for college admission? How should I prepare for them?

Colleges may require interviews as part of their admissions process, or they may not require them. You’ll want to verify the specific requirements of each college. If a college recommends an interview or it’s mandatory, make sure to prepare yourself thoroughly. Practice answering common interview questions, research the college, and think about how to express your objectives and interests effectively. Interviews offer a chance to present yourself in a more personal and engaging way, so take advantage of this opportunity.

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