11-point checklist to tick off before you hit ‘Submit’ on your college application

As application deadlines loom closer and stress levels rise, it’s possible to overlook or miss an important element. So, before you submit your college application, check the list below to make sure you have all the pertinent documents prior to your college deadlines.

1. Application Form(s): First and foremost, review the application instructions thoroughly, especially the necessary requirements and relevant documents for your area of study. Fill each section accurately and completely, re-checking for any errors. If you have any questions or concerns, send an email to the appropriate department at the university for better clarity.

2. Supplemental Form(s): Make sure you have all the relevant application forms. For example, if you are an undergraduate student applying to colleges in the US, then in addition to the Common Application, you may be asked to fill a supplemental form.

3. Application Fees: These can vary based on the university and range from $20 to $250. Check if you are eligible for a waiver. For example, applicants for a full-time MBA at a prominent East Coast university can apply for a fee waiver if they meet certain criteria, including a GMAT score of at least 670 and a minimum of 4 years of work experience.

4. Test Scores: You will need to send the official reports of the exam(s) your institution requires directly from the official reporting agency. At the undergraduate level, this may be your ACT / SAT I / SAT II results and at the postgraduate level, this could be your GRE / GMAT scores. A college may have a separate standardised test submission deadline, which may be different to the application deadline.

5. Grades: Most institutions require official transcripts of grades for subjects studied in school (for undergraduates) or college (for postgraduates). Some universities may ask you to use an academic credit verification service to obtain a course-by-course report.

6. Essays or Statements of Purpose: Each college has their own requirements when it comes to essays, so make sure your essays communicate that you are a right fit.

7. Letter(s) of Recommendation: Have your recommenders uploaded their letters yet? Clearly articulate the deadlines to them and don’t hesitate to follow up and remind them as the deadlines get closer. Please be sure to write a formal ‘thank-you’ letter / email to your recommender(s) after.

8. Resume: Does your resume provide a snapshot of all your academic, professional and personal accomplishments?

9. Additional requirements: If you are applying to a programme that needs additional materials e.g. a portfolio, ensure you have met all their specifications.

10. Financial Aid: Gather updated tax returns, income statements and a list of assets well in time to fill an accurate form, and don’t forget to submit your application by the financial aid priority deadlines. Research and see the various student loan options available to you as well.

11. Interview: The interview is your critical final step in the application process. Make sure that you spend enough time prepping for the interviewer, as this is when you really have the chance to ‘wow’ your admissions board and / or alumnus interviewer.

Now that all these items are checked off on your list and you are ready to press ‘SUBMIT’, double check one last time or have someone else proofread all the documents to make sure that no omissions, spelling errors or silly mistakes have crept in.