Woohoo! The time has arrived to submit your first applications.
So, so exciting…but also a bit nerve-racking.
The key to submitting applications with minimum stress is to approach things step-by-step at least 24 hours before the deadline. If something goes wrong, you’ll at least have a day to recover and still meet requirements. We have a bunch of tips below to help you do that.
(Need to get caught up with previous weeks? We've posted them on our blog here!)
1. Print out application checklists and instructions for every college where you’re applying early. Find these checklists on colleges’ websites and confirm that you can submit materials on time. Applications often require supporting materials, including personal recommendations, as well as supplementary materials and portfolios. Instructions may tip off some important detail you’d missed; for example, Georgia Tech will NOT consider your personal essay on the Common App this year – even if it’s submitted by the applicant.
2. Carefully review your application in its entirety. Use the “preview” feature on applications to see what’s being transmitted and how it will likely look to admissions officers. When proofreading, pay particularly close attention to the following:
3. Beat the deadline by 24 hours. We said it above, but it bears repeating because college application deadlines are not targets. They are not suggestions. They are not wiggly. They are firm. No exceptions! Don't wait until 11:59 pm the night that an application is due to hit submit. Technical difficulties can and do happen. It’s the year of a world pandemic, raging fires, shut-downs, and protests, so why tempt fate with the timing?
4. Be prepared and know what to do if something weird happens. Every year is a new adventure with online applications, and inevitably some college or platform performs strangely. This might throw you for a loop if you don’t know what to do, but it’s really a simple, three-part process:
5. Download a copy. Using the Preview feature of the online application, save a PDF copy of the application you're submitting to your hard drive (or in the cloud), and also print a hard copy. Add each one to your digital and paper filing systems respectively.
6. Print your screen or take a screenshot to confirm that you’ve submitted before logging out. This is super important, because if there are problems, you have proof positive that you can show the college that you did in fact submit on time.
7. Do the happy dance and celebrate. You’ve earned it.
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.