TOP 10 THINGS TO CHECK BEFORE
SUBMITTING YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATIONS
Written by Admissions Expert, Ross Blankenship
Founder of Top Test Prep
When applying to college, your admissions application is the gateway to your acceptance. Your grades
and academic history obviously factor into the equation, but since the application itself is what the
admissions officers see first, caution must be taken to ensure you get everything right the first time.
Remember perception is reality – admissions officers want to see a flawless college application. Before
you submit your college application – whether using the common application or a University’s specific
application – the same rules apply.
To help you get started, I have put together this guide to 10 things to check before you submit any college
application or common application.
BEFORE YOU SUBMIT
1. Follow Directions Carefully – One of the most common errors applicants make is to simply not
follow the directions on the application. As you begin filling out your app, be sure that you follow
the directions thoroughly. If you’re been asked to submit an essay that is no more than 500
words, do so. If you’re asked to fill in all of your personal information, complete everything you
can. There’s a reason college applications have a “word” limit. Admissions offices receive
thousands of applications, so it’s important to be clear and concise in the spaces allotted.
2. Write legibly (and don’t handwrite). Yes, students still do fill out applications by hand. I would
strongly advise you not to be one of these students. If you’re one of the few people in America
without a computer, then of course you can handwrite. But your handwriting should be perfect if
3. Re-read everything – Be sure to re-read every section of the application. Doing so will ensure
that you say what you mean, and don’t send the wrong message because of an error or
oversight. I would even encourage you to read the entire college application out loud. You’ll be
pleasantly surprised if you catch a mistake before, rather than after, your application is submitted.
4. Check Spelling and Grammar – Spelling and grammar are important on your college
application. If you’re pasting your essays and application information from Microsoft Word, this is
so easy to do. It also helps to have someone else read your application entirely before
5. Make sure everything is filled out – Be sure that everything is filled out. You likely won’t have to
fill out every section of the application, but you do want to ensure that you complete the portions
that are pertinent to your acceptance.
6. Fill it out yourself – You can get your parents or friends to help you if needed, but fill it out
yourself. If you allow someone else to write any portion of the document it will be apparent to the
admissions officers with handwriting or general writing style. Some college admissions experts
can also help you with your application, and make sure the application itself is perfected.
7. List Extracurricular Activities – Be sure that you list extracurricular activities that you actually
were involved in throughout your academic career. Don’t overload the admissions offices with
activities in which you spent very little time during the year.
8. Check the Date and Signature – Don’t forget to sign the application and date it correctly. On
some documents the place for the signature will be on the back – don’t forget to check it!
9. Attach all relevant Information – Ensure that you attach every document needed with the
application: ID, your admissions essay, and any other documentation the application asks for
should be attached as per the directions.
10. Ensure your Online Application Gets Submitted – If you are applying online be sure that you
are taken to the confirmation page, and that you save the confirmation email.
Your college admissions application is your one chance to show the admissions offices exactly what kind
of student you are, and plan on being at their school. Thus, taking extra time and double-checking your
application is crucial. These steps above are just a few of the many admissions counseling tips we use at
Top Test Prep. Give us a call to learn more, at (800) 501-Prep.
Ross Blankenship is an admissions expert and Founder of TopTestPrep.com.
Top Test Prep provides admissions counseling and private tutoring for students applying to prep schools,
colleges and graduate schools. For more information on test prep, admissions counseling and private
tutoring, go to http://TopTestPrep.com or call (800) 501-Prep.