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College Admissions: Following up after Applications are Submitted

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Seniors, you are responsible for making sure that all the needed components for your application have arrived at the colleges you’ve applied to. Tips for getting this done:

  • Check your email daily. This is how schools will communicate with you. If something is missing, this is the way that you will likely be notified. Even if you think email is so “old school,” from now through May you need to check it daily. Set a reminder on your phone if that helps you get it done.


  • If you applied via the Common App, you can see whether your counselor, teachers and outside recommenders have submitted their letters by checking the recommenders page. If they are not all marked as done, don’t panic! Be polite and check in with the person about the status of your recommendation. If a recommender thinks something was submitted but it does not show as such, ask the recommender to file a help ticket or make a help hotline call to the Common App. Your full name and CAID must be included.


  • If your school uses Naviance, you can see the status of documents on your Naviance account. This is how you can tell if transcripts, counselor letters, and teacher letters have been sent. There have been computer interface challenges between Naviance and the Common App. If Naviance shows something as sent but the Common App does not show it as received, file a help request. Your full name and CAID must be included.


  • You should have sent SAT or ACT test scores directly from the College Board or ACT website. If you log in to your College Board or ACT account, you can see where scores have been sent. The most common error students make is adding a school to their list after they have sent test scores and forgetting to go back to the SAT or ACT website and send the scores to the added school. If you did not self-report test scores on the application and are waiting to send scores until you get results from the Nov or Dec test date, please note that your early action applications will probably be rolled into the regular decision pool.


  • Reminder: If you took a class for college credit and reported on your Common App that college transcripts were available, you need to send them. Go to the college website (of the school where you took the class) and follow their directions for sending transcripts to other colleges.


  • Many colleges send you an email when they receive your application. It often contains a student ID number for their college and a link to a portal where you can check your application status. I suggest you check at least every other day until you know that all needed materials were received.


Colleges do expect you to be responsible for follow-up. If you need to, email or call the rep from the relevant college to address any problems. Be sure to include your Common App ID # or school-specific student ID #. This is the time of year when admission reps start working very long hours, so be considerate of their time and try to get the info online first.

Jodi Walder is the founder of Portland, Oregon-based College Admission Coach LLC, which helps students identify and gain admission to right-fit schools where they will thrive academically and personally. Contact her at [email protected].


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