After the College Application

You’ve submitted your application… and yet that doesn’t mean you’re completely finished.  Here are a few last-minute items you’ll want to take care off while waiting on your application.

So the tests have been taken, the schools visited, the essays written and the last college application dropped in the mail…

Go ahead and take a well deserved sigh of relief.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, it’s time to get back to work.

Why?  Because there’s still a great many things you and your student can be doing even AFTER the college applications are out of your hands.

For instance, in most cases after your applications have been sent, there’s still a good portion of your child’s senior year in high school left to go.  This means another set of grades and test scores you can send off to colleges.

But don’t make the mistake of assuming your high school’s guidance office will automatically do this for you.   It’s important to keep in close contact with your student’s counselor to make sure that they’re on top of supplying your desired schools with updated info.

“If the college you are hoping to get into wants to see your progress, it is your responsibility to show them,” says St. Michael’s College admission director Jacqueline Murphy.

Of course, when it comes to submitting updated grades, it all depends on which schools you’re applying to.  In some instances, it’s probably not worth your time – super-selective schools (think Ivy League) may not be impressed either way by another semester of straight A’s.   They see those every day.

However if you’re applying to a school where a strong set of grades may help you stand out from the crowd, you should by all means make it a point to get that report card into the admissions office’s hands.

Colleges also love to see consistent progress in potential students.  So if your child is showing constant improvement throughout their high school career and this latest set of grades continues that trend, it’s again a great idea to get those latest marks into them.

In addition, taking the time to plan out an additional visit to a school your student is hoping to attend is a top notch way to endear yourself to the admissions staff.   Showing up on campus for something besides an open house or admissions event will definitely show the college that your child is serious about wanting to be a part of the student body.

Meeting with the faculty of a department you’re interested in majoring in… sitting in on classes… attending sporting events etc. are all great ways to show “demonstrated interest.”

“Demonstrated interest simply means you’ve let the college know that you like them. You’ve visited their campus. You’ve met the admissions officer. You’ve stayed in contact via e-mail or phone” says Josh Bottomly, a college admissions expert and associate director of college counseling at the Casady School in Oklahoma City.

“Last year I had two students apply to Southern Methodist University” Bottomly says. “One got accepted, the other rejected. I was puzzled because the former had lower test scores and GPA than the latter. I called the admissions officer and she said point blank: one student visited, called, e-mailed. The other didn’t.”

The National Association for College Admission Counseling in its recent annual survey found that 22 percent of colleges gave demonstrated interest “considerable importance” in admissions… a 15% increase from 2003.  In addition 30% of schools surveyed rated it as “moderately important”.

“We welcome phone calls from applicants who want to check on their status or simply tell us more about themselves that we can’t find in the written application,” says Sherri Salmon, dean of enrollment Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama.

In addition to trying to improve your student’s chances for admission, there are also several “housekeeping” issues you can get out of the way early, even as you wait to hear if they’ve been accepted.

Some schools will let do a preliminary housing application.  This is a great way to get a head start on the race for dorm rooms, especially when many schools don’t guarantee housing to incoming freshmen.

If you haven’t completed your financial aid forms, make sure you send in your FAFSA form right away.   Funds are of course limited, and the sooner you get your name on the list, the better chance you have at getting the largest amount of aid possible.

There are also several scholarships that have late deadlines that your student can apply for.  Sure the amounts are smaller, but so are the pools of applicants.  So it doesn’t hurt to check with the high school guidance office to see what’s still available.  Every penny counts…

Any way you slice it, the hardest work is over… but the journey isn’t.   Don’t allow yourself to fall into a false sense of security while waiting to hear back from colleges.  Being proactive can help your student’s chances at admission and better financial aid among other things

So congrats… your applications are finished.  But you’re not!  You’re almost there.  Don’t slow up on the last mile.   It’ll be well worth it to you and your child in the end.

To Your Successful College Search,

Scott Weingold
Publisher and Co-founder, CollegeMadeSimple.com

 

Related Articles:

How Demonstrated Interest Could Help Your College Admissions Chances

College Application Checklist

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1 Comment

Shari BryceMarch 19th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

We just don’t have the money! I am now on permanent disability getting 1,200. a month. My husband is still working but with my salary cut we can’t do it. We can’t do loans and I don’t now what to do.

Thank you,

Shari

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.