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So, You've Sent In Your Application - But, You're Not Done!

Yes, it’s exhilarating to finish that application and hit the send button. 


Don’t let all that hard work go to waste because you didn’t follow up after submitting the application.


You need to watch over and track your applications as they move through the decision-making process. 


So, what do I mean by follow-up: 


1. You need to know that the college received your application.

·     If you sent in your application on-line, you may receive immediate notification that it was received via e-mail. There may also be additional instructions in this e-mail for what to do next. 

·     If you sent in your application by standard mail, you must be vigilant in watching for notification that your application has been received (either by e-mail, text or standard mail).

·     If you did not receive notification from a college within 7 days, call the admissions office and inquire.


2. Most colleges will require that you set up a student portal requiring a username and password.

Keep your usernames and passwords in a safe, accessible location. It is through this portal that the college will most often communicate with you. They may need additional information or they may announce their admission decision in this portal.

Check your e-mail and student portals daily. You do not want to miss significant communications from your colleges.


3. Make sure your counselor and teacher recommendations are completed on time.

This may require you to follow up with those teachers/counselor.  Although most colleges allow a small deadline extension to receive supplemental documentation, it is a very small window. Don’t let your admission decision be “no decision” because your application file was incomplete.   It is always better to have all application file elements submitted by the application deadline.

If you applied to colleges that are part of the Common Application, you can easily see if teacher and counselor recommendations were submitted on the Common Application website.


4. Make sure you have sent your standardized test scores (ACT, SAT).


5. Check the website for each college to which you have applied for instructions on what to do next after you have submitted your application.

Many websites have tabs in the admissions section that say something like “now that you have applied, what happens next” or “next steps.” It lists things like:

·     Instructions on how to create a student portal

·     When you can expect an admissions decision

·     What to do if you choose to accept the admission offer

·     Reminders about applying for financial aid

This information may also be listed in the “How to Apply” section.

You must pay attention to this information and follow the instructions exactly as stated.


Now, you are done – for the moment.  


Most colleges require that you tell them of your decision to attend by May 1.  When you do accept a college admission offer, there will be more tasks to complete including items such as:

Attending Orientation Programs

Meeting with College Academic Advisors

English and Math Placement Tests

Housing Decisions and Deposits

Submitting Final Transcripts and AP/IB Results



If you follow-up and track your application after submitting it, you will be doing all you can to make sure your application is received and reviewed in a timely manner.  Hopefully, some of the anxiety associated with the waiting process will be reduced because you know that all elements of the application file have been received and you will know what to expect and when from the college.

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