College Application Checklist: Steps to Apply to College By Robert Morris

It’s never too early to start preparing for college applications. You keep hearing that. However, no one tells you how to prepare. What should you do? How will you apply? What documents do you need?

There are many questions on your mind, and it’s not easy to find all the right answers in a single place. There are questions you don’t even know you have and answers you don’t know you need.



At this point, we assume you know what colleges you’ll apply to and you’re informed about the application process itself. If you’re still not there, you better start making decisions. Once you know where you’ll be applying, you can start using our checklist.

We’ll make things a bit easier for you. This is a college application checklist that will prepare you for the process. Once you check all these points, you’ll be ready!

  1. Note the Deadline

There’s a regular and early application deadline. Find out what the deadlines are for the colleges you’re interested in. Note them down. You’ll need to complete this checklist and apply before that deadline.

    2. Talk to the Guidance Counselor

Before you start doing anything, you need to make sure your guidance counselor is sending your official transcript to the colleges you’re applying to.

This is how that works: you provide a list of colleges and your guidance counselor sends in the transcript. Counselors do their job, but you have to check in and make sure the transcripts are being sent by the deadline.

2. Find Out What You’ll Need for the Application

Each college has its own policies. The first thing you need to do is find out what admission test is required. The recommended tests to take are SAT and ACT. Most schools require these tests, but you may also need to complete SAT II tests.

Whatever the case is, make sure you log into your account for the test and update the list of colleges you want to apply to, so the system will submit the test scores.

If you’re applying to a college where it’s important to showcase your talent in art or music, you’ll need to submit other materials, too. Get informed about the school’s application standards.

  3. Get Recommendations

Did you ask for letters of recommendation? If you forgot, it’s important to do it as soon as possible. Who can write these letters? Your favorite teachers. If you’ve been working throughout high school, the employers can also write great letters of recommendation. Check in with the people you asked and make sure they will get the letters ready on time.

You’ll be sending the letters of recommendation along the Common Application.

   4. Fill In the Financial Aid Applications

If financial aid is necessary for your college education, then you probably know what the FAFSA application is. It’s an application for federal student aid. The official website gives you all information you need about the documents and deadlines. Make sure to get informed and fill in the application on time.

5. Get Your Resume Ready

Not all college applicants need a resume, since most schools accept the Common Application. It replaces the resume. Many college admissions committee members, however, recommend students to include a resume. The Common App cannot convey all your skills and interests. The resume will fill in the gaps.

Check in the application guidelines from the college you want to apply to. Unless it specifically tells you not to include a resume, you should definitely consider submitting it.

The hard part is writing it. If you’ve never written a resume before and you don’t know how to do it, the best thing to do is hire one of the best writing services to complete it for you.

6. Complete the Application

Most colleges rely on the Common App, but that’s not a universal rule. MIT, for example, has its own system: MyMIT. Check what the application guidelines for your schools of choice are.

If you do need the Common App, you’ll need to create an account at the official website. Do that as soon as possible. It takes some time to fill out all information the app requires, so you should never wait for the final moment to start working on it.

These are the main points to focus on:

  • Additional Information

This section gives you more space to write, so you better use it well. Most students decide to include their application essays in this section. That’s a smart choice. Whatever you do, do not leave this section empty or scarce. If you need help, you can always hire a writing service.

  • Activities

You get a limited space of 160 characters to write about each activity. Be very precise when describing your accomplishments.

When you’re done filling in the application, proofread! It has to be absolutely perfect. No grammar and syntax flaws, and no proofreading issues!


This checklist seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? You have only seven points to check. Well, it’s more complicated than it seems. Remember the most important thing: start preparing as early as possible! It’s a challenging process, but you can do it!