You Pressed Submit. Now What?
After the Common App Confetti, there is a sudden shift in the college process dynamic once your application is out of your hands. You have spent months preparing your application materials and now it seems like the only thing left on your to-do list is to wait for your admission decision. And wait. And wait. The weeks leading up to application deadlines go by in the blink of an eye. Time crawls, however, in those weeks leading up to your decision notification. You may be tempted to second guess those last few essay edits or overthink what a recommendation has added to your file. Instead, be confident in how your application represents you and spend time on the worthy tasks below.
Check admission portals and your email regularly, but not obsessively.
Many colleges and universities have established admission portals for applicants to check the status of their application; others prefer to correspond via email. Keep track of your usernames and passwords, and check in a few times each week to make sure you are up to date on any information a college or university shares.
Work hard in your classes.
Regardless of whether you apply early or regular decision, your senior year grades will be evaluated. Most colleges review the first quarter or mid-trimester grades of early applicants, and mid-year or first trimester grades of deferred and regular decision candidates.
Later on in the process, your admission to colleges and universities will be contingent upon successful completion of your senior year. Admission counselors can reach out to students for more information if the final transcript grades are inconsistent with previous achievement.
Work hard on your other applications.
Continue to make progress on your regular decision applications while you are in the application and essay writing frame of mind. When you receive your early admission decision(s), you may be admitted to your first choice school and your process may be finished. At that point, you will not mind the extra work you put into applications you no longer have to submit. However, if the early process does not work out as you had hoped, it can be overwhelming to have to process your emotions, put your best foot forward on regular decision applications, and navigate the holiday schedules of your family and school personnel. Trust us, you will be grateful that your regular decision applications are completed in advance.
Complete Financial Aid requirements, if applicable.
If you are applying for need-based financial aid, get started early in the process and submit all forms by the posted deadlines. Colleges and universities vary in terms of their exact requirements and deadlines, so it is important to research the financial aid policies at each school. Below are the most commonly required financial aid application forms.
- The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the most commonly required financial aid form. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
- The CSS Profile Form evaluates family income and assets with more detail. https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/
- Additional documents such as federal tax returns, W-2 forms, and others may also be required.
Admission Decision Notification
If they have not done so already, colleges and universities will notify you of when and how you can expect to receive your admission decision. Most schools notify applicants electronically via the admission portal or email. Spend some time thinking about how you want to receive your admission decisions. Do you want to be out with your friends and have an email pop up on your phone? Do you want to log into the portal in the privacy of your own home? Consider all possible scenarios to ensure you are ready to receive your news.