College Application Crunch Time: Last Minute Tips From an Irvine Admissions Consultant

Most college applications are due December 1st. If there was ever a time to hand in an assignment on time, this is it! Some high school teachers may choose to give partial credit to a student who handed something in late but colleges will never ever cut a student slack on this issue – Our Orange County college admissions consultants are here to help. In all seriousness, if the paperwork arrives on the 2nd, they won’t even open it. So now that it is November, what can you do in this very last month to make things work?


1. Make a check list

If you are running behind on applications, it will be very easy to forget about tiny details. Make a list of each and every thing that you have to do and cross it off only when it is completely done.

2. Get that essay polished up

Hopefully you have written at least a first and second draft of your application essay. Now is the time to get it polished up. If, for some reason, you haven’t started your essay, then call up a tutor or college counselor ASAP and get it done (READ: “Ask a Nerd! “How Should I start My College Entrance Essay?”).

3. Choose a safety school

I can’t stress this enough. Every student should apply to at least one safety school. Safety schools are ones that your college counselor has told you that you are nearly guaranteed acceptance to. Do not choose one of your target schools and designate it as a safety school. Pick a college with a nice campus that has the program you are looking for and add it to your list.

4. Find out about super scoring

Find out if the universities that you are applying to use a ‘super score’. You don’t want to simply hand in your most recent SAT scores if it turns out that you could have sent in a super score that ended up giving you 100 composite points higher.

5. Get those teacher recommendations

Hopefully, you asked two or three teachers who know you very well to write a lovely letter of recommendation. If November 1st has passed, now is the time to check up on them. Teachers are incredibly busy and most of them are looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday break just as much as you are. However, if the recommendations don’t come in on time, it will leave you in a bad spot. Send a polite and respectful email to any teachers who haven’t yet returned your letters of recommendation (READ: “The Best Way to Ask For A Letter of Recommendation“). Just remind them that you are both excited and nervous to apply to college and that you want to have everything in by the due date. Don’t forget to thank them for their time. If you get a feeling that a particular teacher might be late sending in the letter, it would be a good idea to ask another person. It won’t hurt you to have an extra letter of recommendation.

The ideal situation is to have completed the college application process the summer after junior year. However, this ideal is almost never met. If you find that you are down to crunch time, let your friends know that you will be spending the next couple of weekends focusing on applications. Get it done and out of the way so that you can sleep soundly on November 30th.

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