The school report and its subsequent updates — midyear report, final report, optional report — are prepared and submitted by your high school counselor or another high school official.
At this point in the admissions cycle, it's time to pay attention to your midyear report. Your midyear report is submitted to colleges once your high school has released first term grades midway through your senior year. It generally updates only those parts of your school report relating to grades, but might also update the school profile or the counselor recommendation. The midyear report is typically considered during the Regular Decision cycle, because it comes too late for the Early Action or Early Decision cycles.
If your midyear report is positive, life is good. If it's negative, life gets more complicated. Bad news might be a drop in grades, a one-day suspension, or getting caught with alcohol. It's really hard for your college applications when things go wrong senior year. That is why we always tell applicants that they must stay focused on school and avoid trouble even after their applications have been submitted.
1. Confirm what your midyear report will say. Check in with your counselor to review your grades, activities, and test scores.
2. If your midyear report has good news... ask your counselor to get this report out the door as soon as possible.
3. If your midyear report has bad news... the first thing you must do is stop whatever is going wrong and come out of your senior year "death spiral." The second thing is to do whatever you can in terms of damage control for your applications.
You can read about situation-specific damage control in our book (chapter 7 for grades, chapter 13 for disciplinary or criminal records). You can also follow the suggestions we give in chapter 23 for post-submission supplements to your application.
Anna Ivey is one of the founders of Inline. An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the book How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.