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College Talk Blog

College Applications

Don't look now rising seniors...there is a monster behind you

If most rising high school seniors turn around right now and look carefully, they will see the faint outline of a huge workload monster lurking behind them. The monster is the avalanche of college admission work they need to accomplish before mid-October.

Mid-October you say? How could that be? Aren't college applications due in December or January? Some are, but if the student at your house is going to apply early, deadlines are more in the October/November range.

Sadly, the college work could affect high school senior fall grades that figure into admission decisions.

Common App Tips

Successfully navigating the new Common Application involves attention to detail for each section.  Even the areas that do not apply to you frequently require that you answer "no" instead of skipping over the questions. If you feel that you have completed the Common Application but don't see the green check mark that signifies that a section is complete, the most likely culprit is a question you skipped over because it did not apply to you.
 
Students often skip the honors section of the Common Application because they are not sure what to indicate.

College merit money trick or treat

Pay close attention to early admission deadlines at colleges of interest to your teen. Some early college admission deadlines for fall 2014 began October 15 of this year. Many college early admission deadlines are November 1, November 15 and December 1.
 
These early deadlines should be of great interest to parents because they coincide with priority awarding of merit money.  Students, who are less aware of the financial incentive, may be inclined to apply later. But that could cost you.

College application mission control

Students have a lot of information to keep up with during their senior year. This semester that information includes login's and passwords to college applications. Confusion about login information is a chronic problem that causes needless delays and sometimes prevents successful completion of college applications. Not being able to find important emails or recall whether an application has been filed can also keep a student from reaching his college goals.
 
Parents can help their high school senior stay in control of the large amount of data they have to manage by helping students set up a mission control station for college applications.

Surprise Essay

It is important for students to read the admissions section of their prospective college websites. The instructions will spell out everything that is required and provide a timeline.
 
Students who begin an application without reading the instructions could run into what I call the surprise essay. The guide that is often in the left column of an online college application may not list a writing section. This leads the student to think that there is no essay required for that application.