52 Weeks to College: Week 42

Finalizing Your Early Applications
October 25, 2021

Deadlines for early applications are just around the corner. Everything is accelerating and intensifying, and you may be feeling completely STRESSED out.

But take a breath. If you’ve been following the 52 Weeks plan, then you are more than ready to finalize your early applications. If you haven’t been following the 52 Weeks plan, you can still catch up.



  • Finalize your early applications. Finalizing is the crucial last step before submission.

  • Check in with your recommenders and alert them where you will be applying early, so they can get their recommendations in on time.
  • Check in with your school counselor and make sure you’ve completed all the forms your school requires in order for your transcript and counselor recommendation to be submitted. Confirm whether there are any other procedures you need to be aware of from the school side.
  • Revise and finalize your answer to the extra COVID question. See our Tips & Tricks from Week 41.
  • Revise any additional information or required explanatory essays. See our Tips & Tricks from Week 40.
  • Continue working on the rest of your essays. If you’ve been on the three-week writing cycle since Week 33, you will have finished three full sets of essays by now and you’ll probably be close to done. But if you’ve lost a little steam, refocus and pick up where you left off.
  • Revise the last set of short answers that you drafted last week.
  • Keep checking for virtual college events hosted by the colleges on your list and prepare for/attend those on your calendar. See our tips in Week 31 for why you should attend and how you should prepare.
  • Continue working on your FAFSA, CSS/PROFILE forms and any other college-specific  financial aid applications.


1. 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.

2. 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


1. Your applications aren’t final until you’ve answered ALL the questions, including all the pesky ones, like which term you want to start, what decision plan you’re using, what major(s) interest you, and the rest. Take your time and work through each application in its entirety. If you need to do some research in order to answer the question, do it! Don’t blow it by winging it with these answers. You can get hints and help with these questions for Common App colleges by downloading Inline.

2. Your applications aren’t final until it they are error-free. Errors in your application detract from the positive impression you are trying to make. Grammatical and spelling errors reflect badly on your academic abilities. Typos or other errors in completing the application suggest carelessness or indifference, both of which work against you. That’s why you have to proofread your application very, very carefully.

3. Your applications aren’t final until you’ve arranged for all the necessary supporting documents to be sent. Which supporting documents are required varies from college to college, so check their website for what needs to be sent with each application. A typical set of supporting documents would include your counselor recommendation and transcript (both sent by your school), your teacher recommendations, and — if you are applying with test scores — your official test score reports (sent by the College Board or ACT).

After you’ve finalized your early applications, take a breath. Before you submit them, take bit of time to make sure that all your ducks are in a row and reflect on whether there are any final, final changes you want to make.

Get more essay help right within your copy of Inline.

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 college admissions bible How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.

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