College Application Checklist: Everything You Need in 2023

College application can be a difficult balancing act. You have to pay attention to a lot of different things at the same time. For your application to be successful, everything must be completed accurately. Your application will be denied if you fail to consider any one of the important factors.

Making a college application checklist and keeping it close by while working on your application is recommended by experts. The following are some specifics that should be included on your college application checklist of the college you are applying to.

What is a College Application Checklist?

Whether you’re a high school senior or the parent of a high school senior, the fall is a great time to start thinking about college applications and scholarships.

Knowing what to do, what you will need, and when to submit your applications is essential to having a less stressful experience throughout this time-consuming process.

With the help of our college application checklist, you can make the process easier for your child and ensure that they not only submit their applications on time but also that nothing is overlooked or overlooked.

See Also: 8 Deadly Mistakes That Can Cost Your College Admission Application

Tips For a Successful College Application Checklist

1. Get Started

Even though the entire process of applying to college may appear frightening at first glance, you can (and will complete) it! All it takes is a little concentration, a little perseverance, and a little planning.

Take a few deep breaths to get things started. Then, break the project down into manageable pieces by first creating a list of the schools to which you’d like to apply.

You are not required to complete them all at once; instead, proceed one step at a time.

It’s also a good idea to start putting together a support network (of friends, family, and classmates) that you can lean on when things got tough.

2. Describe the requirements of each school.

When you’ve compiled your list of colleges and universities, assemble the exact requirements for each institution into a single document.

Some schools just require the normal common application or a simple school-specific application, while others require both.

Another requirement may be that you submit an additional essay, respond to a series of questions, or arrange for a number of letters of recommendation.

3. Keep Track of Your Due Dates

Your high school may use Naviance or another college planning tool, which can assist you in keeping track of all of your college applications and the deadlines for each.

A spreadsheet or a calendar with circled dates will be necessary to ensure that everything is completed on schedule.

Allowing yourself plenty of time to put together the most competitive application package possible for each school is also a good idea. You don’t want to be scrambling to finish your applications at the last possible moment.

4. Begin working on your essay as soon as possible.

Give yourself plenty of time to compose several drafts of your application essay, edit them, and have them professionally edited. To get comments on your essay, you should ask your family and friends to read it. If possible, you should also have your English instructor or guidance counselor read it.

When receiving critiques, it is critical to take them constructively and devote sufficient time to refining your writing.

Make a great first impression on those admissions representatives by putting your best foot forward!

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5. Request letters of recommendation from people you know.

Many high school students ask their favorite teachers to write letters of recommendation for them.

As a result, teachers are frequently inundated with these requests, which frequently arrive at the same time.

To prevent putting a strain on their schedules, request recommendation letters from your teachers as soon as possible.

This will give them plenty of time to fulfill the deadline, and it may result in more personalized letters being written for the recipients.

Provide any information you have about your chosen career path, extracurricular activities, and any other information you think your teachers might find useful in tailoring their suggestions to you.

6. Complete your exams as soon as possible (and Apply Early)

Exams such as the SAT and ACT are occasionally necessary for college applications, but they are not usually. Getting these tests completed early will free up time, allowing you to devote more time to work on your college admissions application.

And if your results aren’t quite what you expected, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to retake the tests if you so desire.

Once you’ve gathered all of the materials you’ll need to submit your application, don’t put off sending them in. Many institutions begin accepting early applications as early as August 1 and continue to accept them until November 1 or 15.

If you apply early, you won’t have to worry about finishing your applications while you’re busy with homework and extracurricular activities in your senior year of high school.

Furthermore, acceptance rates for students who apply early are on average greater than for students who apply late.

7. Submit your FAFSA and set aside a budget for fees.

Following the completion of your applications, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and return it to the colleges and universities to which you’ve applied. It is the largest provider of student financial aid in the country, thanks to the support of the federal government.

You can apply if you are a qualified student regardless of your age, income, or nationality. It is recommended that you submit your application as soon as possible because financial aid (as well as merit-based rewards) are available to those who qualify.

It’s also a good idea to set aside money for fees that you may not be aware of.

In order to submit your application, most institutions charge you a nonrefundable fee, which can cost up to $90 per application (at APU, the fee is only $45).

If you’re applying to many universities, it’s extremely vital to start planning your finances as soon as possible.

Some colleges will waive their fees if you can demonstrate that you are in need of financial assistance.

8. If you have any questions, ask!

College admissions specialists are on hand to assist students with the application process and answer any questions they may have. Don’t be afraid to ask them for clarification if anything is unclear.

The names and contact information of admissions agents can be found on the admissions pages of most institutions’ websites, as well as on their personal websites.

If you are unable to locate a representative for your city or state, you may wish to try the general email address or phone number for the admissions office, which is shown below.

These professionals are available to assist you, but you will need to initiate contact with them in order to receive their aid.

College Application Checklist: Materials

1. The Application

Some colleges have their own application form that must be completed.

Others use the Common Application, which can save you a significant amount of time by allowing you to submit applications to several schools using a single online application.

Colleges frequently request the following information on the application form, regardless of the format:

Personal Information

Enter your name, email address, phone number, high school, college credits previously earned, standardized test scores, citizenship information, and any other relevant information about yourself.

Extracurricular Activities

What you’ve done outside of class and how much time you’ve committed to it. Include part-time employment or other duties such as caring for siblings in your extracurricular activities list in addition to regular extracurricular activities.

Summer Activities

Provide information on summer jobs, internships, and other enrichment activities.


Submit the essays that you’ve written for consideration.


Include a list of any honors you’ve received, as well as the circumstances in which they were received. What was the total number of students who competed for the award?

What was the total number of students who received it and what is the significance of this?

Disciplinary Infractions

Provides specific information on any suspensions or expulsions that have occurred.

Application fee

You must pay for your application in order for it to be officially submitted.

If the cost is prohibitively expensive, consult with your guidance counselor or the financial aid office at your college; fee exemptions are frequently available, allowing you to submit the applications for free.

See Also: How to Write a Good College Application Essay in 2023

2. Standardized Test Scores

In addition to submitting official score reports for your SAT and/or ACT tests, you will be expected to submit standardized test scores on your college application.

These must be sent directly to the college from the College Board (SAT) or the American College Testing (ACT).

In the process of registering to take the examinations, you can choose which institutions will receive your scores; alternatively, you can do so after you have received your results.

Many institutions also need you to submit the results of any AP or SAT Subject tests you have taken.

3. Official High School Transcript

Your official high school transcript contains a list of all the classes you have taken during high school, as well as the grades and credits you have earned.

Your guidance counselor will typically send your transcript directly to colleges on your behalf, so be sure to advise him or her of each of the universities to which you are applying, as well as any deadlines that may apply.

4. Mid-Year and Final-Year Grade Reports

The original transcript you submit with your college application only covers grades through your junior year. You must submit mid-year and final-year grade reports and your initial transcript.

Colleges want to ensure that your academic trajectory in high school continues and that you finish on a high note, so they typically request an update on your grades from your guidance counselor after the first half of your senior year and again once you have completed your senior year in high school.

Depending on your academic achievement, colleges may decide to change their minds about your admission (particularly, they may choose to reject you after you have already been admitted).

The fact that you had one B in your senior year does not imply that you are doomed, but it does suggest that all Cs and Ds in the last semester from a student who has previously gotten As and Bs may be cause for concern.

5. Secondary School Report and/or Counselor Recommendation

Your guidance counselor can put your academic background in context with the help of your high school transcripts and/or counselor’s recommendation.

For example, they may include information on the number of advanced placement courses provided at your school, your academic strength in comparison to your class, the percentage of students at your school who go to college, and so forth.

The counselor will also have an opportunity to learn about any other unique conditions you may have had while in high school, as well as how you contribute to the academic and social life of the school.

This section of the application is intended to help colleges understand your whole situation, and they are particularly interested in learning whether you made the most of your circumstances.

6. Teacher recommendation

The teacher recommendation is intended to provide universities with insight into your academic performance in the classroom.

College Application Checklist: Process

When you compile all of this material into a college application checklist, you will have access to all of the information you require in one convenient location.

A quick peek over your college application checklist will provide you with a pretty decent indication of where you are in the process at this point.

You may also mark items off as you do them, allowing you to track what you’ve accomplished and still have to do.

  • A list of the colleges to which you are applying to
  • Deadlines for submissions (Regular, ED, Rolling)
  • Transcript from high school
  • ACT and/or SAT scores
  • A personal application essay prompt and guidelines
  • Personal application essay
  • Recommendation letters
  • Additional documentation that must be submitted with the application
  • Detailed instructions on where and how to submit

See Also: Common Black College Application: A Full Guide


The process of filling out college applications may appear to be intimidating at first, but it is rather simple if you use a college application checklist to guide you.

Starting now, while you prepare to submit college applications, list important deadlines to remember. This list should include important dates such as those for Early Decision, Regular Decision, and Financial Aid.

Use these dates to keep track of when you need to get recommendation letters and transcripts from professors.



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