A checklist for what do after you’ve submitted your applications:
Congratulations to those of you who have already clicked “send!” Submitting college applications is a big and exciting step and you might be wondering, “now what?” Please review this checklist so that you can be sure you’re up to speed on what to do next.
1. Set up applicant portals at each college where you have applied. Colleges will typically send you an email with instructions on how to do this a day or so after receiving your application. Make sure to check your junk folder if you don’t receive such an email. Set these up carefully with a username and password that you can easily remember and make a point to check these regularly. Applicant portals are how colleges typically communicate with applicants. If there are any missing items on your applicant checklist, you will be able to see that in your portal and your application won’t be reviewed until it is complete.
2. If you haven’t already done so, download a PDF copy of each application from the Common App site for your records.
3. Check your portal to see if the colleges where you have submitted an early application require first quarter grades. If they are required, ask your school counselor to submit them on your behalf. If they are not required but yours are excellent, ask if your school counselor can submit them.
4. If you have something new and significant to share with colleges (for example, you have won an award or have new and improved test scores), there is typically a place to upload additional information in your applicant portal.
5. Continue to work on your Regular Decision and/or EDII supplements. You might be tempted to wait until you hear the outcomes from your Early Decision and Early Action colleges—resist this urge! Now is the time to be working on these supplements. Many colleges will release ED and EA decisions in mid-December and if you do not get the news you are hoping for (meaning you are denied or deferred), you will only have a few weeks to submit your remaining applications before the Regular Decision and Early Decision II deadlines, which are typically early January. Note: this window of time is also during winter break—think holidays and high schools being closed, both excellent reasons to work on these tasks now.
6. Double check whether there are any specific programs, honors college, or scholarships for each of the colleges where you have applied. Certain programs and scholarships have an earlier deadline than the general application.
7. Many colleges only offer alumni interviews AFTER an application has been submitted. If there is a place to request an alumni interview (often on the college’s website or in the portal), request one. While there is no guarantee you will be granted one, this step is another way to show the college how excited you are about attending. If you are contacted by an alumnus about setting up an interview—great—make sure to respond promptly!
8. If you haven’t already done so, send a thoughtful thank you note to the teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation.
9. Continue working hard in all of your classes. Even if you are accepted early (yay!), your senior year grades still matter – big time! Colleges will request mid-year and eventually final grades and will expect that your academic performance has remained strong.
10. Remember that colleges care about more than simply your grades; they also care about your character and academic integrity. Be mindful of how you conduct yourself in person and across social media as negative, dishonest, hurtful, or insensitive behavior can have real and devastating consequences, even after receiving an acceptance. Even after you submit your applications, the choices you make matter. Make smart choices.