52 Weeks to College: Week 17 — Reviewing Your Application Before You Submit

You're almost there! Now that you've finished all of the components of your first application, you should take one more careful look at the application as a whole. Does it come together into a coherent and compelling story about you? If it does, then you have produced a standout college application — an application that presents you at your very best and maximizes your chances for admission. The best and easiest way to review your application as a whole is to assemble your own application file and then read it from start to finish just as an admissions officer would.

Week 17 To-Dos

Every Week

  • Check your email, voicemail, texts, and snail mail for any communications that relate to applying to college. Read them and take whatever action is necessary.
  • Update your parents about what you’re doing. This regular communication will work wonders in your relationship with your parents during this stress-filled year.  

This Week 

  • Finalize your 6th application.
  • Revise your 7th application.
  • Draft your 8th application.
  • Follow up with your recommenders.
  • Interview with colleges.
  • Check the websites of colleges on your list to see if and when admissions representatives will be coming to a place near you. 
  • Meet with college representatives.
  • Continue working on your CSS/PROFILE forms and college financial aid applications.
  • Prep for your upcoming standardized tests. (See Week 6.)
  • Take the ACT.

Tips & Tricks

1. Review your application as a whole to make sure it conveys your story. Remember your story from Week 3? Go pull it up again. Are all the elements of your story coming through when you read your application as a whole? If not, which elements are missing or getting lost? Where can you incorporate them in your application materials?

2. Make simple, easy tweaks. There's still time for you to change up your really short answers, switch out your short answers, and realign your essays.

3. Proofread. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. You should be getting pretty good at proofreading by now.

4. Sustain your momentum. If you've been following our advice week by week, then you already have multiple applications in process. But other people like to conk out after they finish their first (early) application. That would be a very bad idea. You have built up a lot of momentum by this point, so take advantage of it and don't stall out. It is good to stay in application mode until all of your applications are complete. 

You can read more tips for reviewing your application as a whole in chapters 5 and 21 of our book. Next week, we'll focus on the logistics of submitting, so don't hit the submit button just yet.

About the Authors:

Alison Cooper Chisolm heads the college admissions consulting practice at Ivey Consulting. She came to private consulting after working in admissions for more than 10 years at three selective universities (Southern Methodist University, University of Chicago, and Dartmouth College).

Anna Ivey is the former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and founded Ivey Consulting to help college, law school, and MBA applicants navigate the admissions process and make smart choices about higher education.

You can find more college admissions tips in their book How to Prepare a Standout College Application (Wiley 2013), and follow them on Twitter and Facebook

About the 52 Weeks to College Series:

52 Weeks to College is a week-by-week plan for applying to college. It breaks this complex and difficult project down into weekly to-do lists with supporting tips and tricks for getting it all done. Based on the Master Plan for applying to college found in our book, How to Prepare a Standout College Application52 Weeks to College is designed for any applicant who intends to apply to top U.S. colleges. For those of you who are just discovering the 52 Weeks series and want to catch up, click here.