Tracking Your Applications is important, because while Colleges will likely contact you if part of your application is missing, you never know when there will be a hard deadline that you will miss due to an incomplete application. Remember that with every interaction, you are being evaluated and that you always want to make a good impression.
Appearing to not have your act together, as demonstrated by an incomplete application, is not a good idea. Furthermore, you may have met the minimum applications requirements, but planned to add an optional piece, such as a flowing Letter of Recommendation from your Music Teacher or Coach, beyond the standard LORs. That LOR is filed by the Music Teacher or Coach directly to the Common Application, so unless you are tracking your application closely, you may not realize that they had not gotten around to filing that LOR.
A large part of stress is worry. Do I know what needs to be done? What are the deadlines? Did I get it done? Do I need to follow-up? These are the types of questions that keep us awake at night. Organizing, documenting and tracking are skills that enable busy people to fall asleep at night – they have an organized a process which determines what needs to be done when, and they document and follow that process. These are important life skills, that help you beyond this one, important process. Below is a sample spreadsheet for tracking the Application Process, by College.
Class Rank Should Not Be Really High On Your List of Worries
Class Rank is important, it’s just not really important. It’s also complicated. For example, my children attend a High School that does not weight GPA’s. Nor, like some schools, does their school weight GPA solely for the calculation of class rank. If you are a student who takes a rigorous workload (Honors, AP or Baccalaureate courses), unweighted GPA’s can work against you. A student who chooses to take a less rigorous workload will likely find it easier to maintain a high GPA. But….
I read with concern that many selective holistic schools rank class rank as a “Very Important” consideration for admission, and that a large percentage (70, 80 or even 90%) of a selective school’s incoming Freshman were in the top 10% of the class. I became worried that my child with a high, but not perfect GPA, did not rank in the top 10% of their class, would be denied admission because they could not manage to maintain a 4.0 with their rigorous workload. I reminded myself that Academic Rigour is also usually often ranked as a “Very Important” consideration for admission, and that Admissions Officers will closely scrutinize and value my student’s workload. But it still bothered me.
Then I learned about the Common Data Set(CDS). It wasn’t until I read the CDS for some of the selective schools that I realized that while yes, a very high percentage of students were ranked highly, conversely a very low percentage of students reported their class rank! For example, one school listed the percentage of students in the top 10% of their class at nearly 75%, while just over 20% of students had reported their class rank. This taught me not only that class rank was less likely to hurt my children’s admission chances, but also, that they DID NOT NEED to report class rank if they felt it would work against them. On the other hand, your High School has chosen whether to include your class rank along with your transcript and other relevant information they submit to Colleges where you apply. If you are worried about your class rank, ask your High School Counselor about your school’s policy regarding submitting class rank.
This leads to another discussion about why some selective schools boast a holistic admission process but state that test scores, grades, class rank and the like are Very Important – I call it the College Admissions’ Publisher Rankings Anxiety.
It’s time to figure out some application strategy, in terms of when and how to apply to a College. You have options for how you apply to a particular College. Those options may include Early Decision, Early Action, Restrictive Early Action, Regular Decision and/or Rolling Admission Application Plans, depending on the College. Before we get into the details, it’s important for you to understand an important factor in the Admissions game, which is Yield.
When and how you apply to College can have a big impact on outcome. In general, there are five ways (or plans) to apply to College:
Colleges don’t offer all of these options; typically they offer RD plus one other application plan, unless they offer RA.
A College’s policy regarding offering financial and/or merit aid for different admission plans (ED vs. RD, for example) are important considerations that should be discussed with the College’s Admission Officer. It is also important to research and discuss admission rates for the different application plans. Finally, ask about early application plans acceptance rates, adjusted for athletes and legacies.
About 450 Colleges have Early Decision or Early Action plans. To determine which application plans are offered at a particular College, type <school name> undergraduate admissions deadlines in your search engine. Again, a College Counselor can be invaluable in navigating this complex process.