Checklist of Things to Do When Submitting an Application

Applying to college

Applying to your top college choices can be exciting. Don’t let your excitement get in the way of completing every step necessary during the application process. Missing one step can send your application to the bottom of the review pile, possibly causing you to get denied entry.

Below is a checklist that can help you ensure you do not miss any steps. It can give you confidence that you have done everything you need to do, meeting all the requirements of the college.



Read your answers, then read them again. You want to check for any errors, no matter how small. A simple typo in your address could delay getting communications from the college.

Have a friend or family member go over the application too. They may recognize something you missed.

Proofreading consists of several steps. First, read your answers slowly and silently. Next, read them out loud. Then, you can do a specific search for errors. Finally, ask someone who you know to be good at editing to review your application for you.

Proofreading should be done on everything from the short answers to the essays you include in your application. It not only helps you with misspellings and typos, but also with accidental omissions and inconsistencies.



Whether you are finishing high school, or are an adult learner applying to college, your resume is very important. Your resume shows the college how well rounded you are. It shows you are goal oriented, hard working and that your work gets noticed. In a way, your resume can reflect what type of student you may be.

There are parts to a resume that are extremely important. One is to make sure all your academic information is listed. Another is to list all your work experience. Do not leave out any information, even if you think it wasn’t a big deal.

Any job you have been paid to do shows you take responsibility and care for what you are tasked to do. From pet sitting to bookkeeping to CEO, all jobs are important and should be listed.

The activities in which you are involved are important too. Even if the activities are not directly related to your educational field, list them. It is good to have a variety of interests, it shows you are a well-rounded individual.

Honors and Awards should be listed as well. The awards you receive show others recognize your abilities.


Transcripts and Test Scores

You will need to contact previous educational entities to ensure they have sent your transcripts to the college to which you are applying. If you have completed high school, then meet with the guidance counselor to make sure they have sent the documents to the right college.

If you have attended other colleges or universities, you will need to have them send copies of your transcripts showing classes you completed, even if it was just one course. Often, college courses transfer and can count towards your degree, saving you time and money when you do not have to repeat a course.

Test scores must be sent directly to the college you wish to attend from the institution who has your test scores. It is a great idea to follow up with them to make sure they sent your scores to the correct colleges. If you have multiple test scores, it is good to check they sent the right scores, the highest and most recent scores.


Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters are an important part of the application. They tell the college things about you that are not revealed in test scores and transcripts. They show that distinguished people are willing to speak on your good character.

To obtain great recommendation letters, ask in advance. Give the people time to prepare an exceptional letter on your behalf. Teachers are a great source for recommendation letters. They can vouch for what type of student you will be.

Others to ask include employers, coaches, pastors and colleagues. Ask people who are eager to write a letter for you. Avoid sending in letters from people who may not communicate how well you will do as a student.

It is okay to give your references ideas on what to write. You can discuss with them any challenges you overcame, projects in which you succeeded and anything else notable.

Give your references stamped envelopes with the school’s address on it and make sure they know the deadlines. Write thank you notes to your references once you have been admitted.


Additional Information

Many applications allow for additional information to be included. State residency forms may be needed to confirm you do indeed live in the state and can receive the state tuition fees.

Not everyone will have a glowing resume. Sometimes in life, we make mistakes and get into trouble. These mistakes should not stop you from reaching your goals. It is important to be honest about past mistakes.

It is also important to show how you have overcome any negativity and what changes have been made to help you succeed in college. You can learn from mistakes and become an even better person afterward.

If you have any special connections, add this information in your application. Occasionally, who you know can help you. If you have a family member or close friend who works at the college, tell this in your application.

If you have connections to important community figures, provide this information as well. The people you know can help you stand out from all the other applicants. However, do not list people that you have only met in passing. Instead, make sure you list people who can speak to your personal nature.

Just because you met the President, does not mean he should be listed as a reference. However, if your father is the best friend of the President, this should be noted.

Your college application is one way to help you shine, showing admission committees you are a great candidate for their college.