Don’t Forget to Submit Your Scores!
Cue the confetti: you just submitted your application to college. Congratulations! You’re all done now, right? Well… maybe not quite. There are a few things you still need to do after you click submit.
1. Log onto the Portal
While many colleges utilize shared application platforms like the Common Application, the Coalition for College Access Application, or the Common Black College Application to simplify the college application process, they all still want you to log into their own portal so they can notify you of the completeness of your application and, ultimately, your application decision. After you submit your application on whatever platform you use, be sure to check your email for instructions on how to log into each school’s portal. If you don’t get an email about the portal or some confirmation from the college itself (not just the application platform) that your application has been received within 48 hours of submitting the application, follow up with the college.
“When I worked in Admissions,” remembers Ginger Fay, Applerouth’s Director of Global Partnerships, “if there was a snag with the application fee – like using an expired credit card by mistake – we might not actually be able to receive the application… and because we never really received it, we didn’t know you had applied, so we couldn’t let you know something like the fee was missing and keeping your application from being complete!”
2. Submit Your Scores
While many colleges now give students the option of whether or not to submit their SAT or ACT scores, there are probably some colleges on your list where you would like your scores to be considered, but they can’t consider your scores – for admission or scholarship awards – until you send them! Some colleges will allow students to self-report their scores during the admissions review and only ask for official results from the testing service when the student is matriculating, but every college has its own policy and you have to be sure to read the fine print and follow up appropriately. To submit official scores, log into your College Board or MyACT account.
Certified Educational Planner Rebecca Grappo cautions: “Just this fall, a terrific student of mine planned to apply Early Action to Clemson. He submitted his application before the October 15 deadline but his scores – which were strong so he wanted them considered – did not arrive in time so the Admissions Office switched his application to Regular Decision.”
3. Check Your Email
Colleges can track everything about how you interact with them – whether you open their email, click on a link, linger on a page, respond to an important request for more information … and all of those are ways that you can continue to demonstrate interest in a college after you click submit on your application. And unlike a trip to campus, reading and responding to email doesn’t cost you very much time or any money! That engagement will also help you get to know the schools you have applied to better, which will help you make the most of the opportunities at the college you do ultimately choose to attend.
“It’s a little creepy, but this is Big Data at work – if they choose, the colleges can track all of these things. I honestly don’t know who does and doesn’t, but just knowing that they can should motivate any student who really wants to go to a college to be vigilant about checking their emails and portals,” Grappo reflects.
4. Be Patient
Even in the information age, it can still take a few weeks for all of the parts of your application to find each other on the other side of the process since everything is starting from a different place and time. You submit your application and application fee or fee waiver, your school submits supporting documents like your transcripts and letters of recommendation, and the testing agency submits your official score reports. If it looks like there is something missing when you first log into the portal, don’t panic! If you submitted the parts you are responsible for and initiated the sending of the others by the deadline, the colleges will usually allow you a little bit of grace to give everything time to find its way into your file. If something is still missing two weeks after it was submitted, it’s time to check with your school, testing agency, and/or application platform to see what the hold up is. That’s why the Common App reminded you to save a PDF of each version of the application you submitted; you should have a clear record of everything you submitted and when, just in case there is ever a question.
“I work with a lot of expat American and international students,” notes Grappo, “many of whom have moved from country to country during high school and therefore have more than one transcript. Some colleges will allow the student’s current high school to absorb previous classes and grades while others will require an official transcript from every school the student has ever attended. It is important for students in this situation to make sure all of the required transcripts have been received before relying on that green check in the portal!”
5. Thank Your Recommenders!
Now you have nothing left to do but wait and worry – scratch that – wait and wonder about the adventures awaiting you in college. While you are waiting, be sure to thank your counselor and teachers for writing recommendations on your behalf. They are cheering you on all the way.