26 Weeks to College: Week 24

This is your last chance to update or complete your applications
February 7, 2020

Mid-February is the peak of “reading season” in college admissions. During reading season, admissions officers read, evaluate, and DECIDE the fates of applicants.

Hopefully, you’ve been following the 26 Weeks plan and you’ve done everything possible to make your best case for admission. You’ve submitted a standout application, you’ve submitted any required or helpful updates, and you’ve confirmed that your application is complete.

If so, all you have to pay attention to this week is staying on top of the financial aid application process.

If not, this week is really your last chance to submit application updates or complete your applications that had Regular Decision deadlines. If you don’t act now, then the colleges will make their decisions anyway. (For Rolling Admission applications, you’re still better getting off everything in sooner rather than later, so don’t wait.)

This week’s tips and tricks are focused on helping you take the necessary final steps across the finish line.

WEEK 24 TO-DOS


THIS WEEK

  • Confirm that your applications are really truly COMPLETE at each and every college on your list.
  • Send any application updates that are required (e.g. Midyear Reports) or that would be helpful.
  • Interview with colleges.
  • Provide the documentation necessary to support your financial aid application if required by the college or if you are selected for verification.


THIS WEEK AND EVERY WEEK

  • Check your email, voicemail, texts, and snail mail for any communications that relate to applying to college. Read them and take whatever action is necessary.
  • Update your parents about what you’re doing. This regular communication will work wonders in your relationship with your parents during this stress-filled year.

TIPS AND TRICKS


1. TAKE ACTION

Procrastination is always a bad strategy, but it is deadly at this stage in the process. Colleges are making hundreds — that’s right, hundreds — of decisions every day right now because they must notify applicants of their decisions within weeks. So you’ve got to act now if your application is incomplete or if there is anything you want to add to your application before a decision is made. (All those steps you took for your early applications post-submission apply to your regular applications as well.)

For International Students only: If the college requires you to submit financial documentation regarding your ability to pay (ultimately necessary for the visa process) before the admissions decision, then you need to confirm that you have sent what is required and that the college has received and processed it. Otherwise, your application will be considered incomplete, and either no decision will be made or you will be automatically denied.


2. DON'T PANIC IF YOU ARE CHOSEN FOR FINANCIAL AID VERIFICATION

About 30% of FAFSA applicants are chosen every year for “verification,” and most of these applicants are chosen randomly. If you are selected then you will be asked to submit a verification worksheet, tax returns, and perhaps other supporting documents.

Spread
the word.