Upcoming college deadlines do’s and don’ts, applications

For seniors around the country, fall represents the pressure involved in the submission of college applications.  Students’s futures can depend on what university they are admitted to and should treat it as such. College admissions officers receive hundreds of applications a day, as they try to get to know a student “holistically”, meaning they [admission officers] look at everything from Advanced Placement (AP) courses and Grade Point Average (GPA), to community service and extra curricular activities.

As such, it is imperative to use college applications as a way to focus on one’s personality and best characteristics rather than listing off accomplishments, especially when it comes to essays. Early action deadlines are coming up quick, so here are some Do’s and Don’ts for college applications. 

DO take your time 

Applying to college is a big deal, so students should take their time on their applications to ensure that they are showing the admissions office their true selves. The common app alone takes hours to fill out, not including the school specific supplements. Setting aside time specifically for college applications should eliminate any risk of procrastination and should ensure that they are submitted before the deadline. 

DON’T forget to take the SAT/ACT

Standardized test scores are one of the many aspects of an application that colleges look at. While they are not the most important detail in an application, a certain score can strengthen one’s chances of getting accepted. Students are encouraged to take the SAT or ACT multiple times so as to get the highest score possible. 

After receiving one’s score, it is important to send it to prospective colleges through College Board in addition to self-reporting the score on the Common Application. Students should research the deadlines for score sends for each college they are applying to, as they could be due during the application process or once a student is accepted.

DO become familiar with college application platforms 

Common Application and Coalition are application sites that allows for students to apply to multiple universities at once without filling out basic personal information multiple times. While this is true, many colleges require separate supplemental essays that are unique to their institution. All of these elements must be filled out thoughtfully and completely to submit a competitive application.

DON’T wait to ask your teachers for letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendations give the colleges a more personal outlook on an applicant’s background and values. Students should ask teachers that know them as a student as well as a person, whether they are also a coach or sponsor of a club.

It is imperative to be mindful of deadlines when asking for recommendations, however. Recommendations should be asked for no later than a month before the application deadline. This way, teachers will be able to create a thoughtful recommendation and write about the student in the best light. The closer one gets to the deadline, the more ordinary and cookie-cutter a recommendation will get.

DO make a list of colleges you want to apply to 

A good starting point of college applications is the list of possible colleges that one would like to attend. Build the list off of what makes colleges different from one another such as size, location, major availability, and activities offered. It is recommended that this list consists of reach, safety, and dream colleges. 

DON’T wait until the last minute to submit your application 

College is the next chapter of most of our lives. Therefore, procrastinating college applications could seriously hurt chances of getting in. College applications take quite a long time and require hard work, so procrastinating will not only result in a bad application, it will also create stress and anxiety in an already stressful time.

Have the mindset of completing tasks a week or two earlier and submit earlier than the deadline as well to avoid inevitable website crashes. 


It can be stressful, but seniors should keep the end goal in mind. In less than a year, we will be going to college and a new chapter in our lives will begin. Good luck!