When I applied to college in the mid-eighties, I filled out my application on a typewriter, put it in an envelope, and mailed it to my prospective colleges. My guidance counselor gathered my letters of recommendation, transcripts, and SAT scores, put them into a manila envelope, and mailed them to the schools. Then, I waited and assumed that the post office would deliver my applications in good faith.

For current high schools seniors, those same pieces still need to get to the colleges, but with the transition to electronic applications, score choice, digital portfolios, and eDocs, the process has become in some ways easier but in many other ways more confusing.

I often get asked if you can submit your application before the letters of recommendation are sent, and the answer is YES! Students submit all the pieces under their control by the deadline, and the other aspects, e.g. letters of recommendation, official test scores (if needed), transcripts, etc. get added to your application once they arrive.
What's On Our Minds
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How will enrollment for last year impact the class of 2022?

Last year's admissions cycle was arguably among the most uncertain years, given so many changes thrust not only on admission but on the world. As a result, we saw a longer admissions cycle, including deferrals that turned into admissions and increased waitlists that lingered and then disappeared.

This year, colleges have a much better handle on reading applications without test scores or typical extracurricular activities. Students' transcripts, e.g. rigor, trends, performance, and letters of recommendation help colleges put students in context and determine how they compare to others within their high school.

They will continue to use enrollment management to shape the class and data analytics to determine "yieldability" of students. They also will continue to put more emphasis on character and how students engage with the world and community.

Regarding the test-optional trend, most college admission counselors have said that they've gotten really good at reading applications without tests, but they will still consider them if it helps the student.

Lastly, the big question for seniors right now: should I send my scores? 

Bischoff from Case Western Reserve University says don't just consider whether the composite ACT or total SAT score is within the 50% range, consider whether the subscores support the preparation of their major. Colleges are not as concerned if an engineering applicant has a lower than 50% English score as long as their math/science score is strong; similarly, if an art major has a lower math score, it's not as important. While this may not be true at all schools, it's something else students can weigh when deciding to use or not to use their scores this year. 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Standardized Testing
Here is a list of other frequently asked questions regarding standardized testing:

  • Is it better to take the SAT or the ACT?
  • Do I have to report all of my scores?
  • Will I be penalized for taking the ACT or SAT multiple times?
  • Do schools superscore the ACT?
  • Do schools consider non-required test results, such as AP Exams? 
Sending your Official Test Scores

In most cases, you must send official test scores to colleges before your application is considered complete. While most schools allow leeway for the scores arriving after your application has been submitted, some, such as The University of Michigan, require that everything be in the office by the deadline. Therefore, we recommend sending test scores at least
4 weeks prior to the deadline.

Below are videos showing how to do it.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Self-Reporting Test Scores

There has been a recent movement where some colleges are allowing students to self-report test scores during the application process and only require sending official score reports when the student enrolls.

Please check college specific policies detailed in a blog post from Compass Education Group:
Financial Aid for ED/EA Applicants
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Requirements vary, and it is very important that you check and follow the policy set by each individual school. The FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE applications opened on October 1st.
 
If you cannot find the information on the school website (Admissions page, Tuition and Fees, or Financial Aid page), call the Financial Aid office directly.
Special Circumstances for Financial Aid

When applying for financial aid, the FAFSA and CSS Profile for the academic year 2022-23 use tax data from the calendar year 2020. If you have special circumstances for 2021, you will have to contact colleges to let them know that you have a lower family income than reflected in 2020 tax returns. Here's a great, free, nonprofit resource for doing that: Special Circumstances Appeal Letter

Inviting Other Recommenders To the Common App
What We’re Reading This Month
What's Happening Now
Seniors:  
You are doing a great job--keep up the momentum until applications are submitted.
 
Juniors: 
We would like to meet after your first marking period to do a needs assessment and work on your preliminary lists. 
Sophomores and Freshmen:  
Keep up your grades and decide which activities you want to delve deeper in.
And we will end with some levity...