Before Submitting College Applications: A Quick Checklist

Before Submitting College Applications: A Quick Checklist

College application deadlines occur during some of the busiest times of the year. Early applications are due around Halloween, UC applications are due post-Thanksgiving, and regular applications are due during winter break at the peak of the holiday season.

With the deadlines rapidly approaching, many high school seniors are scrambling to finalize their college essays and add any finishing touches to their applications. However, in the midst of it all, there are important steps you should keep in mind before sending off your applications.

1. Proofread your entire application

After investing so much time and energy into your college applications, the last thing you want the admissions readers to encounter is an application blemished with typos. Review each page of your applications, making sure that all of the information is accurate, properly spelled, and grammatically correct. Read the application aloud from start to finish and then read it again backwards to ensure a thorough review of all the information. If you are unsure or uncertain about anything, find someone you trust to look over it. When you’re deep into the application process, it can be easy to gloss over the details, and a fresh pair of eyes can often help detect any flaws you may have missed.

2. Double check your application status updates online

Before submitting your application, verify that all materials outside of your direct control have been received by the colleges. This includes recommendations, test scores, portfolios, and any other supplemental information to your application. Remember, you must report your official SAT/ACT scores through the corresponding organization, and if your scores haven’t been received, you need to follow up with the College Board or the ACT. If your recommenders haven’t sent their letters by the time you are ready to submit, kindly update them and remind them of the deadline (they’re busy too!). Don’t panic if anything is missing. Following up in a timely fashion and carefully explaining your situation will usually resolve any issues.

3. Guarantee that your whole story is on display

Your college applications must portray the full picture of who you are as an individual and how you will make an excellent addition to each school to which you are applying. Admissions is an extremely competitive process, and you do yourself a disservice if you leave out crucial information. Each and every section of the application should build upon the previous ones to construct a dynamic and layered self-portrait. Upon reading your application, admissions readers should have a vivid idea of who you are both as a student and as a human being as well as recognize without a shadow of a doubt that you will add unique value to their campus environment.

Please don’t wait until the final minute to submit your applications; any number of things can go awry. Finish your applications a week or so early, so you can use those last few days to go over these steps and then submit with full confidence that you’ve given it all you’ve got.


Jon G. is originally from Houston, Texas. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University and is currently one of the resident English gurus at Elite Prep Los Angeles. Nothing makes him more proud and pumped up than watching his students succeed. When it comes to hitting the books, Jon recommends starting early and studying in increments to avoid burnout. He's a huge basketball fan, loves green tea, and his favorite vocabulary word is "seditious."