10 tips for finishing your college app before it’s too late

Fall is busy college application time for many high school seniors across the state. Most students have submitted their applications by this point, but if you haven’t yet you may be getting a bit worried. By this point, all applications submitted will be considered part of the regular admissions period, and some students are afraid this may hinder their chances of acceptance.

If you have waited, the first step to making sure your college applications are completed is fairly simple: don’t panic. Take a moment to understand that if you are a strong candidate, colleges will want you. Here are some quick tips to make sure your college applications are in top shape.

The Dos:

  1. Do get organized. Make yourself a calendar of all the deadlines, requirements and other details that you may need for each college. Organize your list of colleges in ways that make sense to you, perhaps by deadline or by preference. Either way, you’re going to want to make sure everything is as comprehensive as it can be before you start to avoid later, time-consuming issues.
  2. Do change your routine. If you’re feeling burned out from all your applications, a nice change of pace can create a boost to get you through the process. Try going to different coffee shops or libraries to get your mind moving. Give yourself goals and reward yourself after completing them, or simply stand up and stretch now and then.
  3. Do follow rules and instructions closely. So many students can end up missing their chance at acceptance by something as easily remedied as making sure they read the rules. Don’t skim, take your time. Fill out all the information and answer the questions correctly to make sure your application is properly completed. If you are submitting through the Common Application, be aware that each school can ask for a specific requirement of which you need to be aware.
  4. Do correct all grammar and spelling mistakes. This is a big one for a lot of students. Submitting an application that is riddled with mistakes looks lazy to admissions officials, and you certainly don’t want to appear lazy. Having a proofreader would be great to make sure that not only your grammar and spelling are correct, but that your message is clear and understandable.
  5. Do Research! Not all colleges are created alike, so it makes sense that colleges are looking for specific “types” of students to become a part of their school. Research the schools on your list so that you can position yourself in your application to fit what they are looking for.
  6. Do make, or print, copies of all applications. This is a fairly important part of the application process. It’s important to have copies of all your applications in case something unfortunate happens during the submission or review period. Your copy is a form of evidence that proves you have completed and submitted it.
  7. Do social media management. We’re living in a modern age, and what you do online can affect the world offline. Clean up your social media profiles, making sure you remove inappropriate or offensive material before submitting any applications.

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t use a silly or inappropriate email address. Those who read your application are trying to find out if you are the best fit for their college; don’t tarnish that image of yourself. This is easily fixed by creating a new email address from one of the endless free emailing sites out there.
  2. Don’t forget about your grades. Look, senior year is often considered the year that you can finally relax after all your hard work. The truth of the matter, however, is that the grades you earn your senior year are still important. Schools will always request your final transcript, and they may choose to defer a decision on your application until final grades are in. If they see a significant dip in your GPA, you may even have your acceptance rescinded.
  3. Don’t send a list of extracurricular activities that is too long, or full of unimportant stuff. Admissions officials are tired after reading all the applications they receive, and they certainly won’t be excited to see a list of extracurricular activities the length of two pages. Keep it short and to the point, focus mostly on the activities that mattered the most to you and that really showcase your leadership skills.

If you keep focused and take your time with your applications, you will eventually craft top-notch applications ready for submission. After you have submitted, make sure you receive a confirmation email of submission. Then, sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done, you did it!

Like what you’re reading in Bridge? Please consider a donation to support our work!

We are a nonprofit Michigan news site focused on issues that impact all citizens. In an era of click bait and biased news, we focus on taking the time to learn both sides of a story before we post it. Bridge stories are always free, but our work costs money. If our journalism helps you understand and love Michigan more, please consider supporting our work. It takes just a moment to donate here.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


Fri, 12/25/2015 - 4:14pm
Make sure you apply and consider Michigan's Premier Private Catholic University in the Jesuit and Mercy Traditions. Go Titans!