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Countdown to college: Tips for December and January

Lee Shulman Bierer, Tribune News Service on

Published in Education News

Of course, when it comes to college applicaitons, there are still a bunch of December stragglers. However, most students have written all the college application essays they’ll ever care to brainstorm, write and edit and then edit again.

Typically, we’ll see another burst of activity once the early decision notifications are released, typically by mid-December. But here are some tips on what seniors should be thinking about in December and January:

Follow-up. Confirm all of the schools received your application and materials. The first place to start is with the Common Application and the Coalition applications. Check their dashboards to see if a school has downloaded your application. In addition, confirm your school materials (transcript, letters of recommendation, school profile) have been submitted. If you have any doubts, you can reach out to the admissions offices of the colleges and ask for them to confirm receipt. Check your emails (and spam) daily. Most colleges will email you access to a portal. You’ll need to create a login user name and password for each school – keep track of this information. This is where you will find any updates from the school and it’s the best place to confirm that your application is complete for each of the schools on your list. Colleges will notify you if your test scores or letters of recommendation haven’t arrived.

Send notes. Now is a good time to show your appreciation to teachers who have taken the time to write your letters of recommendation. Hard copy, snail mail is great, but not always practical – sending an email thank you is just fine.


Keep researching. Continue to take virtual tours and info sessions for colleges where you’re applying.


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