With Early Action deadlines approaching, it’s important to make a checklist of everything pending. Often, students will be applying to 10+ schools, making it difficult to stay on top of everything that’s due for each one in a short amount of time. While the Common Application makes things easier, each school still may require additional items. For this reason, I want to provide a checklist for students and parents to help ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
#1. Supplemental Questions and/or Essays
In the case of college applications, optional never means optional. The only exception would be a question that you would need to give a repetitive answer for. For example, MIT has one of their supplemental questions listed as optional.
“If you think that additional information about your family will give us a more thorough impression of your background, please include it here. Optional; 250 words or fewer.”
If you’ve already spoken about your family in other places, there is no need to repeat what you’ve already written. Similar to the optional Covid-19 question on the Common App, there’s no need to put something just to put something.
Make sure you’ve reviewed all items for each school and have made handwritten notes, case by case.
#2. Sending Scores
For this admissions cycle, many students will choose to send their test scores to some schools, but not others. This means that an adjustment to the student’s Common Application will be required. Additionally, some schools may require the official reports from College Board on top of the self-reporting. As a rule, the best thing you can do is stay on top of your email and check your admissions portals to make sure nothing is still pending. As common practice, click the “Preview” button on each application before submitting to make sure your test scores are there if you want them to be, and not listed if you do not.
To send official test scores, students can go directly into their College Board or ACT accounts. College Board makes it easy, but you’ll need to go to their website and begin filling in the schools to send them out. The Florida state schools require test scores, while some private Florida universities (like the University of Miami) do not.
#3. SSAR and SPARK reporting
The Self-reported Student Academic Record (SSAR) is required by the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Florida State University. The Self-Provided Academic Record for Knights (SPARK) is required by the University of Central Florida. Check each school to see which ones require these kinds of additional reports. Linking your application to the report will be required if they are on separate portals.
Friendly reminder that FAFSA opened on October 1st! For the potential to receive financial/merit aid in your award letter, make sure that you have each of the schools you’ve applied to listed on your FAFSA.
Best of luck to all the seniors out there! Sending warm wishes and positive outlooks your way!