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The Ultimate College Application Guide 2.0


The Waiting is NOT the Hardest Part

At the beginning of application season, we dropped an article, the Ultimate College Application Checklist, to give you everything you needed in advance of the popular November 1st deadlines. 

Now that we’re past that first big deadline, we can turn our attention to the waiting game. It can be tempting to kick back and relax, to wait for the early admission decisions before sending out applications for the regular decision deadlines. 

We’re here to tell you right now: Don’t do it.

If you sketched out your application plan well and have stuck to it, you’ve probably already submitted all of your applications. If this is you, congratulations. This is something to be crazy proud of—you deserve a medal. Take a deep breath, but don’t forget that financial aid is the next looming problem. It’s time to apply for some scholarships, and we have you covered with our extensive scholarship database!  

Alternatively, if you’ve sketched out your application plan well, but also live in the real world where life happens to get in the way, you might have a bit more work to do. You’ve submitted your early submission applications, but may or may not be procrastinating on the supplements for regular decision schools.

And oftentimes, despite best intentions, you haven’t started your regular decision round of applications because well, you have confidence that you’ll get into your first choice where you applied early.  But the reality is, that the most common outcome of an early application is a deferral.  

Deferrals aren’t bad, and they definitely don’t mean “no.” They aren’t “yes,” though, either. They often mean: we need more information. They may want first semester grades or an additional test score before deciding. 

It’s Zero Hour, Round Two. Fret not, though, because you are not alone. We’re here to help! We even offer free consultation calls. Through our service, Cappex Admission Advising, you can expect us to get to know you and your unique situation. Once we have a good understanding, we’ll do a series of things: 

  1. Put together an application plan.

  2. Coach you on writing your supplements. 

  3. Double-, triple-, quadruple-check that you’re in the best position to be accepted! 

Sound like a plan? We’ll even get you started on your own with some solid pieces of advice. Starting with...

Never Wait to Write Your Supplements

Now that you know deferral is a likely option from early action and early decision applications, it likely makes a lot more sense why we’re telling you not to wait on your regular application submissions. 

Basically, until you’re for sure for sure of where you’re going to college, acceptance letter in hand, deposit down, the whole enchilada, you have to keep pushing forward. Work just as hard on your regular admission applications as you did on your early admission ones to give yourself the absolute most opportunities possible. 

First and Foremost: Get Organized

There’s something cathartic about getting stuff together in an orderly fashion. Somewhere in the middle, it gets kind of frustrating—we know it really does—but the end is so satisfying. Before you even put together a checklist that you can cross off, though, you need to get re-organized. 

Person organizing cords in a small leather bag.

1. Rework the list of institutions you want to apply to along with the supplemental materials requested. Make sure that you have at least

  • Safety (2 Institutions)

  • Target (3 Institutions)

  • Reach (2 Institutions)

2. Plot out not just when each application is due on a calendar, but what is due. Is there a supplement about why you want to attend the College X or do you need to write a letter to your future roommate?  Are there any supplements that you’ve already completed that you can repurpose for future supplements?

3. Request documents from your school and your recommenders. 

3. Start writing.

From this point, you can easily figure out how much work you need to do, or is left to be done. If you can dedicate an hour or two every day to chip away at your remaining supplements before December 18th, you’ll be in great shape! 

Don’t forget to take a deep breath and walk away from your monitors when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Grab a snack, have a family member tell you a dumb joke, take a walk around the block, belt out some Lizzo loudly and off-key, whatever you need to do to shake out the stress and tension.  By following this list, when decisions drop in mid-December, you’ll be prepared to handle any possible outcome.

Singer Lizzo dancing in the middle of a circle of people all grooving to the rhythm.


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