52 Weeks to College: Week 30 — The Midyear Report

The school report and its subsequent updates — midyear report, final report, optional report — are prepared and submitted by your high school counselor or another high school official. We talked more about school reports in Week 15, which you can read here

At this point in the admissions cycle, it's time to pay attention to your midyear report. Your midyear report is submitted to colleges once your high school has released first term grades midway through your senior year. It generally updates only those parts of your school report relating to grades, but might also update the school profile or the counselor recommendation. The midyear report is typically considered during the Regular Decision cycle, because it comes too late for the Early Action or Early Decision cycles.

If your midyear report is positive, life is good. If it's negative, life gets more complicated. Bad news might be a drop in grades, a one-day suspension, or getting caught with alcohol. It's really hard for college applications when things go wrong senior year. That is why we always tell applicants that they must stay focused on school and avoid trouble even after their applications have been submitted.

Week 30 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 

  • Confirm that your midyear report has been sent.
  • Interview with colleges.
  • Work on your FAFSA.

Tips & Tricks

1. Confirm what your midyear report will say. Check in with your counselor to review your grades, activities, and test scores.

2. If your midyear report has good news... ask your counselor to get this report out the door as soon as possible. 

3. If your midyear report has bad news... the first thing you must do is stop whatever is going wrong and come out of your senior year "death spiral." The second thing is to do whatever you can in terms of damage control for your applications.

You can read about situation-specific damage control in our book (chapter 7 for grades, chapter 13 for disciplinary or criminal records). You can also follow the suggestions we give in chapter 23 for post-submission supplements to your application.

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.