Applying for College
The time has come to start applying! Review the tips and information below:
- Show appropriate level of interest and enthusiasm in the school that you are applying to. Emphasize the positive reasons for your application to that school.
- Demonstrate your sincere interest in the schools that track this (some private colleges) by making a campus visit, seeing the rep at Country Day, and emailing the admissions office.
- Try to establish a personal relationship with an individual admissions officer. That person can act as your advocate before the committee. Often the person who visits our school is the one who will represent you, so be sure to come to that college meeting and be engaged.
- Write your essays early to allow time to rewrite them if necessary. Take time with your essays—good essays can make your application stand out. Show your essay to an English teacher or college counselor who will give you critical, objective feedback.
- Take care with your applications and proof read them several times before submitting.
- Send supplementary application materials if it helps demonstrate additional talents or skills.
- Keep your college counselor informed of your first-choice college as well as any responses (acceptance, rejection, waitlist) you receive from a college.
- Don’t send too many recommendations from family friends. If someone knows you well and can write an in-depth recommendation and has a special relationship with the college you want to attend, that person is appropriate.
- E-mail the admissions office with any new information during senior year—awards or new things that come up after you have submitted your application.
- For general information:
The Common Application
Coalition for College
- For colleges that require teacher recommendation letters, they can be of critical importance.
- Be very thoughtful in choosing teachers to write for you, and be very respectful of the time it takes to craft a good letter.
- Find out how many teacher recommendations the college requires.
- Most colleges do not require any teacher recommendations, some require one letter and only the MOST selective colleges require two letters.
- You should not send the college more recommendation letters than they require.
- Please pick up Teacher Recommendation Request forms from College Counseling before the end of junior year and take these to your teachers when you go to ask them for the recommendation.
- Please return the completed forms to College Counseling before you leave at the end of your junior year.
- Most teachers will give their letters directly to College Counseling and our office will take care of sending them to the colleges.
- You should ideally ask teachers who have taught you in your junior year. Or at least in the last two years.
- Don’t forget to thank your teachers for writing recommendation letters for you!
Early Decision (ED)
- You may only apply to one college under an Early Decision plan and you are committing to attend that college if accepted.
- If you are accepted, you must withdraw all applications to other colleges.
- Your application will be evaluated on the basis of your record through your junior year.
- In order to be ready to apply Early Decision, you must do extensive research and visit college campuses and be absolutely sure of your ED choice.
- Early Decision applications generally fall around November 1.
- At some colleges, an Early Decision application increases your chance of being accepted. This is a question you should ask a representative of each college.
- You must be absolutely certain that the ED school is your first choice and you will not regret losing other possible college options.
- If you are NOT sure, do NOT apply ED!
- Also, if you think you will need financial aid, you should probably not apply ED—talk to the college rep.
Restricted Early Action (REA)
Restricted early action is a nonbinding plan where students apply to a first-choice college early and receive an early decision (admit, defer, deny), usually in December. Students have until May 1 to respond to this offer of admission. You may apply to other schools under regular or nonbinding rolling admission plans, but you may not apply to any other school under an early action, early decision, or restricted early action plan. Check on individual college websites to find the verbiage that each college uses in the restrictions of their early plan.
Early Action (EA)
- Many colleges and universities have Early Action or Early Notification plans.
- EA works the same way as ED, but is not binding—you do not have to commit to attending the EA college if you are accepted—you have until May 1 to decide.
- EA deadlines are also around November 1.
- Pay careful attention to the college’s Early Action policies—many schools have “Restricted Early Action” programs that do not allow students to apply to any other schools early.
- Many state universities as well as some smaller colleges have rolling admissions plans.
- These schools review applications as they come in, and the earlier in the process, the better—usually in September and October.
- Generally, four to six weeks after your application has been received, you will receive a decision.