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It’s Almost Time – Last Two Weeks Application Checklist

Some people might be counting down to Christmas but I’m counting down to application due dates. Your kids have 15 days to put all the finishing touches on their applications and make sure they are the best they can possibly be. They have 15 days to impress Harvard and make sure their applications explain exactly why the best schools should accept them.
I know you’re thinking, “How do we keep track of everything?!”
I created this checklist, so you can make sure your child isn’t forgetting anything. The absolute worst thing would be for your son or daughter to not get into their dream school because they forgot to send a test score or remind a teacher to submit a letter of rec. This is the time to go through your child’s application and essays with a fine-toothed comb. Encourage your kids to read and re-read them. They should be the best representation of your child.

1. Talk to your child’s guidance counselor

Either you or your child (or both) need to check in with the high school counselor. High school counsellors have a lot on their plates. It’s your responsibility to make sure your child’s transcripts and recommendations get sent to the right schools. My favorite way to make sure everyone is clear about what is needed is to make a list of all the schools your kid is applying to with what the counselor needs to send and the due dates.   If your counselor has a form they like, fill that out as well.

2. Confirm recommendations have been completed

If you’re using the Common App, be sure your child has signed and submitted the FERPA release (individual school applications will have a similar release). If your child’s teachers are submitting recommendations online, your son or daughter can simply check online to make sure the rcommendations have been submitted. If your kids’ teachers are submitting the recommendations through your child’s guidance counselor or directly via mail, ask your son or daughter to check in with each teacher to make sure the recommendations have been submitted. It’s also a great time to thank them for doing it.

3. Double check standardized testing scores have been sent 

Check in with your son or daughter to make sure their ACT or SAT scores have been sent to the correct schools. It’s best to make sure this is done at least two weeks before they’re due. That means TODAY! If the colleges your kid’s applying to has an applicant portal, you can check that and make sure the school’s gotten your child’s scores.
Remember, your child only needs to send their best scores.

4. Submit the FAFSA

This is something you can take off your child’s plate. We all know how important financial aid is to making sure your child goes to their dream school. Don’t forget this. FAFSA takes a little time, so be sure you don’t wait until the last minute. If you’re looking for help filing FAFSA, check out the totally free Filing the FAFSA, The Edvisors Guide to Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

5. Make sure the Common App or online applications are top notch

Your child should have the application completed. If you have any questions about how to make your child’s application really stand out, check out my Ultimate Guide to the Common App. This is the time for your kids to tighten up their applications. It’s a great time to read through your child’s entire application including essay and supplements. You should be able to come away from reading your kid’s application knowing exactly what makes them unique and what they will bring to the campus of each school. This is sometimes easier for an outsider, so it might be worthwhile to ask someone else to take a look at your kid’s complete application.
If you’re worried about whether your child’s application will impress the Ivies, feel free to shoot me an email at jyeager@post.harvard.edu.
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