Saturday, 10 December 2016

Applying to US colleges? Read & review before you submit!

It is almost the middle of December and many of you in grade 12 are now down to the last stretch before submitting your US college applications as the January 1 deadline looms near.
The last couple of months have been tough: juggling school, research and exams with seemingly endless application work – choosing colleges, filling forms, verifying academic requirements, writing and editing essays, coordinating reference letters and transcripts. As you finalise your applications don’t forget that the presentation of your application and attention to detail counts. 
Consider these 10 simple, yet critical finishing touches before you click ‘submit’.

  1. Review your application thoroughly. Make sure the spacing is consistent in every section; check capitalisation, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  2. Use either UK or US spelling in a consistent manner throughout the application. Both are acceptable; but don’t ping-pong between the two.
  3. Contextualise Indian terms such as Dada or Dadi, for e.g. Dada (paternal grandfather) or Nani (maternal grandmother) in your essays and avoid using phrases like ‘topper’, ‘pass out’, ‘clear my doubts’ or ‘take it up’. These are colloquialisms and have no relevance in American education!
  4. Use the proper tense when you are describing activities, honours or achievements so as not to confuse or mislead.
  5. Ascertain that links to articles or videos included are active and functional; if you have uploaded a video to slide room, make sure that it is of good quality.
  6. Ensure your test scores are submitted on time. Some colleges super score and some don’t, so make sure you send out the appropriate test scores.
  7. Follow up with your school to confirm that letters of recommendations and transcripts are sent to the selected colleges by the stated deadline.
  8. Upload or send any additional documentation required when applying for aid in addition to the CSS profile.
  9. Follow the instructions if you are invited to apply for a scholarship, making sure you adhere to the deadlines. 
  10. Preview and check the PDF version of your application if you are submitting using the Common Application platform, as this is the version admissions officers review. The PDF is automatically generated before you are prompted to pay.


  1. As prospective students like me are nearing the end of the daunting college application process, these 10 points serve as an essential checklist to send out a perfect application. Thank you The Red Pen team for taking the time to share this indispensable guide. I look forward to more helpful blogs!

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