FAQs and Deadlines

When do college applications open?

Most college applications — including the Common Application and the Coalition for College — will open in August for students who plan to start school the following fall. That said, students may work on or complete general application components at any time before this date.

Private colleges and universities may open applications at different times, but it is generally in the August – September timeframe.

While most schools require similar application components, different admission options allow you to submit your application by different deadlines. The four basic options are early action, early decision, regular decision and rolling admission.

Applications require a college essay (or several depending on the school), recommendation letters, official high school transcripts and standardized test scores.

What about letters of recommendation?

Ask teachers and counselors for recommendations at the end of junior year or start of senior year so you can get these documents quickly; this is especially important if you’re applying early action or early decision. One or two letters are usually needed depending on where you apply. 

Start a “high school resume” that includes a list of clubs, completed volunteer opportunities, examples of student leadership or jobs. This can start as early as ninth grade. When you ask a counselor or teacher for a recommendation, the resume can help guide them as they write the letter. You can also create a brag sheet. See your school counselor for a brag sheet template from your school.  

How do I get official transcripts?

Get a copy of your high school transcript to self-report grades and classes on your application. You’ll likely need to send the official transcripts to your schools, too. CCPS uses Parchment to submit transcripts electronically to colleges. First, you will need to submit a transcript release form to your School Counseling Department, then you will receive a registration code and directions on how to send the transcripts to each college. You need to submit a request for each college you are applying to, and you can also request an unofficial view, which you can print and include with scholarship applications.

What standardized test scores are needed?

These typically consist of SAT/ACT scores. Other exam scores may be required for admission, such as those from SAT Subject Tests. Not all schools require the SAT/ACT, so check with your schools about what score reports are needed. Note that you may be able to report your unofficial scores on your application and then send in official scores after you’ve been admitted.

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