It’s time for college planning action.  After working hard to keep grades up and taking placement tests junior year, it is time to apply.  Here is a list of action items to check off:

Narrow down the list.

Regardless of how many schools were visited and looked at, hone down the list to those that truly fit academically, financially and geographically.  The finances conversation should have already happened.  Therefore, students should know that if they apply to schools that may otherwise be out of reach financially, they will need additional grants or scholarships.

Traditionally, the list includes at least one school the student is confident of being admitted to, and one that would be a “reach.”  These schools should still meet the financial/geographic/academic parameters.

Early Decision, Early Action or just Early?

Students should decide if Early Action or Early Decision is a good route.  Schools with rolling admissions may not offer this option or have a modified version.  Early Decision comes with an expectation the student will enroll if accepted, so be sure this is understood.  Aside from Early Decision/Early Action programs, students will benefit from just getting their applications in as soon as possible after the school starts to accept them.

Complete the Application

Complete the application—and students should be sure to include somewhere in their essays why a particular school is the right choice for them.  Some essays can be used generically, but if the student is writing about why he or she wants to go to a particular school, be sure it fits.

Ask for Recommendations

Be sure to find out how many recommendations are required by each school.   Then, obtain recommendations from teachers, coaches or others who know the student well.     Hopefully, students started doing this in the Spring.  If not, it can slow down their application process.

Coordinate with Guidance Counselor

Many high schools coordinate with students to submit applications.  If that is the process at your school, students should work with school counselors to have transcripts and recommendations sent out to the colleges.

There may be additional items on some students’ lists.  An ACT retake in September and another campus visit or two may still need to be done and checked off.

To ensure nothing is missed, stay organized!   Have your student keep a folder on each school with information, correspondence, and confirmations that information has been submitted.

If students want assistance with the essay, contact Knowledge Edge at to make an appointment.  Students hoping for last minute help with the September 9 test can consider our ACT Bootcamp.  Two sessions will be offered, from  6-8pm on August 21  or August 31.  The cost is $99.  Call 262-238-8867 or go to our website at to register.