College Application Eve. What do you do before the clock strikes midnight?
Do you go to a movie thinking you’ll be home by 10 and still have plenty of time to submit your app? Do you forget to pay duty to your own future while playing “Call of Duty on your PlayStation?” Think again. It’s not exactly an ideal start to your college career to wait until the very last minute to apply to a college that you want to want you.
What could go wrong on application eve? Everything.
Here are 5 things you need to do before your college application can be successfully submitted.
- Complete the App. Okay, that’s a given, but you need to allow enough time to do this. It’s rare that any college application takes less than an hour to complete, most take at least two hours providing you have all the information you need on-hand and are not trying to write your college essay in that short window .
- Complete Supplemental Forms. You may not know there even are supplemental forms until you get to the end of the application. These forms could include a separate application for the honors program, scholarship consideration or in-state residency. Supplemental requirements will vary by institution.
- Proof the App. This, too, should be obvious, but I can attest that many college applications don’t get proofed before they are submitted. Print it out and read it from a paper copy. If you have a parent or sibling who can proof it for you, then allow time for this as well. Often “fresh eyes” will catch mistakes you have missed.
- Error Check the App. The college application software will most likely include error checking as part of the process. Mistakes will be flagged and you’ll need time to go back through the app to correct the mistakes.
- Pay the App Fee. Have a credit card ready to pay the application fee. Paying the application fee is usually the last step before an application can be successfully submitted. Just be prepared.
You think you’re done. What can go wrong now?
Just one more thing — if you waited until the last minute to submit your app and there are say, thousands of other students just like you, then there’s a chance the college application system used by the colleges will crash. It has happened and the stress is just not worth it. To safeguard your college application, save your app to a PDF version if the software allows. And, when you submit the app, print a copy of the confirmation page. It will have a date and time-stamp so you have proof you attempted to submit the app.
Related: Attacked by zombies is not an excuse
Many college application systems are automated to the point that they will send you a confirmation email within 24 hours of receiving your application. If you have not been notified that your application was received, contact the school and have your printed confirmation ready in case you need to fax to scan and send to the college.
There are many things that can and do go wrong on college application eve. Don’t let the things you can control become a roadblock to getting your applications submitted.