You Have Submitted Your Applications, Now What?
While it’s true that most of your work is done for your college applications, keep in mind that your actions and decisions in the months ahead can still affect the admission decision.
- Keep Your Grades Up. Colleges will get a copy of your midyear report, which will show your senior-year grades at the end of the first semester or term. Avoid senioritis: Colleges do not view it favorably. You should not only carry a strong course load in 12th grade, but also maintain your grades. In the worst-case scenario, a significant decline in academic performance in senior year can result in the rescinding of an offer of admission. The appearance of even one uncharacteristically low grade in a senior-year course may prompt a letter from the college expressing concern.
- Avoid Disciplinary Issues. Students have had their admissions offers rescinded for transgressions such as drinking alcohol at school functions or being arrested for even a minor offense. This is most often a problem when the student does not report the incident to the college. When you submit an application, you pledge to let your colleges know of any changes in your status. Since students answer questions about disciplinary and criminal actions in the application, they are obligated to notify a college if the answers to those questions change. Some students will not report incidents and hope the college never finds out. However, they risk a far greater consequence if the college discovers the information from another source.
- Inform Colleges of Activity and Course Changes. Life doesn’t stand still after you’ve submitted your application. You may win an award or land the lead role in the spring play. If you decide to drop a course or an extracurricular activity, you must notify the colleges to which you have applied. You may want to get feedback before following through on any such decisions, which might not be viewed favorably. Admissions officers want to know the full context behind your application, so update them with a brief note—usually via your account on the college portal or an email. Many colleges list their admissions staff members by region on their websites as well as their contact information, making it simpler to find the right person to call or email.
4. Confirm Before Your File Is Complete. You may be wondering if a college received all of the application materials for your file. Most colleges will email notification of any missing items. You may also find that the colleges to which you have applied have an applicant “portal” where you can check what items have been received. The final admissions decision is typically posted to the portal before you receive the official letter in the mail. It may be appropriate in some cases to call an admissions office to check on whether your application is complete. Colleges often need at least two weeks after a deadline to log all elements of the application, so be sure to give them ample time before you call. Further, read this article before you blame your high school guidance counselor if the college tells you it has not received your transcript.
5. Take Action If You Are Deferred. If you find out that you have been deferred from your early decision college, it is usually appropriate to send updates on your grades and activities in the month of January. In some cases, showing that your interest in the college remains strong by writing a letter, visiting or interviewing (if still possible), could sway a decision in your favor. Submitting an additional recommendation that adds new insight into you as a student may also make a difference.
So, while you can relax some and breathe a sigh of relief, remember to keep up the good work and keep your colleges informed of any significant changes since you submitted your application.