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Deadlines for Early Action and Early Decision Draw Near

As October draws to a close, early action and early decision deadlines approach. Students wishing to apply for BA/BS/MD programs, other "fast-track" majors, and honors programs need to submit their applications at this time, as well. These applications take time and a lot work. Students should not wait until the deadline to submit their applications. Rather, the sooner the better. The applications should not be rushed, so if a student is planning on applying early, he should get moving.

Students should also have the following checklist items:

1.         Recommendations from at least 2 teachers. Even if some of the colleges do not want them, it is a good idea to have a minimum of 2 recommendations. After the teacher has agreed to write one for the student, the student should write a hand-written note of thanks. Remember to follow up on those recommendations and make certain the teacher has submitted them. Sometimes, a teacher is so bogged down with work a student’s recommendation may fall by the wayside.

2.         Some schools have "brag sheets" for students to fill out so the guidance counselors and recommenders have some background information. Please submit them.

3.         FERPA agreements between the school and parents may be necessary if the student is under 18 years of age. FERPA agreements from the college application to Naviance (if a school has this program) may also be required.

4.         Along with the application, the student should leave plenty of time for the transcript request. The guidance counselor may not send the transcript on the day it was requested, and the receiving university may not process the transcript on the day it was received.

5.         College entrance exams, such as the ACT or SAT, may take a few days to be sent to the receiving college, do not wait until the deadline to order those scores be sent.

6.         Some colleges have a student reported academic record form that students need to fill out with their grades from high school. This is a tedious part of the application and should be completed prior to application submission.

7.         Portfolio reviews are important to those students applying for art, architecture, and fashion programs. Look to see when those take place in your area.

8.         Auditions schedules vary from one institution to another. If a student is applying for performing arts, he should check to see when videos and in-person auditions need to be scheduled.

9.         Read, read, and re-read the material in the application aloud and then have someone else read the application. Make certain there are no spelling, grammatical or organizational mistakes. Once the common application has been sent to one college, the student may not edit the information or the essay. Only the supplements may be worked on after submission.

10.     Students may only apply to one school for a binding early decision. This is a contract. Any student who applies and gets accepted using more than one binding early decision option may be subject to a lawsuit.

11.     Prior-prior year student financial aid applications may also be submitted now for both the FAFSA (fafsa.ed.gov) and the CSS Profile (collegeboard.org).

12.     Have a resume prepared.  This resume should describe the activities in which the student had participated.  It should include the AP or IB courses and test scores; any ACT, SAT, and/or SAT II tests and scores; any awards; any leadership roles; and any extra-curricular activities of the student.

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