Hooray! You did it! Take a moment to celebrate this significant milestone on your college journey. You should be incredibly proud of the work you've put in up to this point and we hope you feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
But...you aren't done quite yet.
While submitting your college apps is a main piece of your college search process, there are a few loose ends that you need to tie up after hitting that "submit" button on your applications. Here are 8 to dos for you to check off after you submit your colleges apps:
1. Check Your Email and Set Up Your Portals
Every college to which you apply will send you some type of confirmation email letting you know that your application has been successfully received. Included in that message will be information on how you will be receiving information from that college going forward. This includes communication about potential missing items (test scores, recs, etc), as well as messaging about your admission decision when it's available. It's important that you read these emails and set up your individual applicant portals for each school. NOTE: Once you submit your apps you will NOT receive any communication from colleges via the Common App. All messaging will come directly to you from the individual colleges via email and your portals.
2. Send Official ACT or SAT Scores (If Required)
If you have applied to any colleges where testing is required, or where you would like to have your scores considered, some will require your OFFICIAL scores from the testing agencies (ACT or College Board). If this is the case you should send scores ASAP after submitting your applications. Be sure you have checked the individual school policies on score choice and superscoring so you know which scores to send.
3. Complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile
If you are planning to be considered for need-based financial aid you will need to submit the FAFSA to the colleges to which you are applying. Some colleges will also require submission of the CSS Profile form. These forms should be completed ASAP so that colleges can put together a financial aid package for you if you are admitted. NOTE: Some institutions will require submission of financial aid forms even if you do not believe you will qualify for aid. Be sure you have checked the policies of individual schools so you know what forms, if any, are necessary.
4. Inform Your School Counselor of Your App Submissions
It's important that you keep your school counselor informed of all schools to which you have applied. The school counselor sends transcripts, your school profile, and most letters of recommendation to your colleges so it's imperative that you are communicating with them about your process. Keep them updated as you hear back from colleges as well and let them celebrate your acceptances with you!
5. Check for Interviews
Many colleges offer applicants an opportunity for either a required or optional admission interview. These can be a positive experience and we encourage students to take advantage of them if offered. Check with the colleges to which you've applied to see if this option is available to you. Check out our great list of tips to ace your admission interview!
6. Check for Additional Scholarships
While most college applications include either automatic consideration for institutional scholarships, or an additional essay for those interested in applying, some will have an entirely separate process post-application. It's your job to check each college website (under the Financial Aid tab) to see if additional scholarships are available. In addition, start taking time to complete outside scholarship apps. Here are some good tips on how you can begin identifying these opportunities.
7. Keep Your Grades Up
We promise your parents didn't put us up to this! It's not the time to begin slacking on school work just because you're done with your college apps. In fact, your senior year grades can absolutely come into play if you receive a defer or waitlist decision from a college. If this happens they will ask to see your grades for the current school year and will often make their final decision based on that information. If your grades are tanking it doesn't bode well for your chances. Keep working hard!
8. Finally...Say Thank You!
Lots of people probably contributed to your ability to successfully get to this point in your college search process: parents, teachers, coaches, employer, counselor, college consultant...the list is likely long. Take a few minutes to say thank you to them for helping you along this journey. Never underestimate the power of those two small words!