Seniors – College Application Process
Once you have balanced (for selectivity) and finalized the list of colleges to which you will apply, it's time to begin the application process.
Please follow the steps on this and the subsequent pages:
◊ Step 1- Release of Records and FERPA
Each senior must complete the Release of Records form online. If you are under 18, it must be signed by a parent. The Release of Records link can be found in the left menu on the Naviance Home Page
You must complete a FERPA Waiver, indicating whether you waive your rights to access letters of recommendation upon college matriculation. The FERPA waiver is available online, on SCOIR, on the HOME page in the left menu or by clicking on the link above.
Waiving your right lets colleges know that you will never try to read your recommendations. That, in turn, reassures colleges that your recommenders have provided support that is candid and truthful.
While you are free to respond as you wish, if you choose not to waive your right, some recommenders may decline your request, and some colleges may disregard letters submitted on your behalf.
Remember, even if you retain your right of access, you still won't be able to view any recommendations until after you have been admitted to and enrolled in a college.
Once the releases are complete, Transcripts/ Supporting Documents may be requested using the appropriate form available in the Guidance Office. (See instructions below)
◊ Step 2- Essays
Most colleges require at least one essay as part of the application process. Follow the guidelines established for length and topic. Check spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
There are a number of websites to help you with your essay. Your English teacher will also offer suggestions; just ask.
◊ Step 3- Recommendations
Most colleges require a Counselor Letter of Recommendation.
The Counselor letter serves as the “floodlight” to shine on all facets of the student- in the classroom, in activities, sports, arts, volunteerism, etc.
Each college determines if they require Teacher Letters of Recommendation, and if so, how many.
Teacher letters of recommendation are intended to shine a “spotlight” on the student in an academic setting. Teachers’ letters focus on achievements in the classroom, contribution to learning, relationships with peers, etc.
It is your responsibility to ask teachers for letters of recommendation if you need them. This may be done as early as junior year, but at least 4 weeks prior to your first deadline. Your initial request should always be made in person.
No matter when you asked a teacher to write for you, it is your responsibility to confirm with the teacher using the SCOIR written request and communicate your first deadline date. This request should only be used as a confirmation, so you and the teacher can track its completion.
Most colleges prefer that letters be written by a teacher who knows your most recent work, work ethic and capabilities. They prefer it to be a teacher you had in junior or senior year, in an academic subject. If you choose to ask a senior teacher (that you haven’t had before), do so only after the first quarter.
Teachers will upload their recommendation letters to Naviance. They will complete the Common Application teacher form (if necessary for your colleges) on Naviance, as well.
Do not invite teachers to complete electronic recommendation forms for any college on the college's application page or the Common Application. Teacher recommendations and supporting documents can be sent to any college that supports electronic documents, through SCOIR.
◊ Step 4- Preparing Your Applications
- You are responsible for preparing and submitting each of your applications. Your application is the most important document in the process. It should be the first document submitted to the college and must be on time! The college needs to start a file before it can add other school documents. If you wait until the deadline day to submit, your supporting documents can’t possibly be logged in as “on time.”
Discipline Disclosure: The Common Application and most college applications require students to disclose high school disciplinary issues which result in probation, suspension, removal, dismissal or expulsion. Students may also have to disclose issues involving law enforcement that result in conviction of any crime.
Counselors are required to disclose discipline that results in out of school suspension and law enforcement issues of which we have knowledge, on our initial counselor/school report form. We are also are expected to notify all applicant colleges of any changes to a student’s discipline standing through the end of the school year. Students are encouraged to answer honestly and explain the circumstances completely.
Types of Applications
Common Application simplifies the process, as you complete the Common Application once and send it to any member college to which you wish to apply.
- Create a user name and password. Your application will be stored here, so that you may use the same version for all of your colleges that accept the Common Application. Please use the same email address/username on Common App that you do on SCOIR.
- Complete each section of the application. Add at least one college.
- Once you add at least one college, you must complete the Common Application FERPA waiver( Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). To do so, click the Recommenders and FERPA tab for any college within My Colleges. The FERPA waiver is only completed once and covers all current and future colleges and recommenders within the Common Application.
- Next, go to the "colleges" tab in your Naviance account. Click on "Colleges I'm Applying To." In the box indicated, enter the email address you used to register for Common App. Enter or confirm your birthdate, Click on "match" your Naviance.
Supplements - Many schools have supplements to the Common App. It is your responsibility to determine if a supplement is required. The Common App website lists each school and if a supplement is required.
Individual College Application (found on the individual college’s website):
- Some Common App member colleges also use their own VIP applications, which offer a fee waiver. You can use the Common App while keeping the “fee waiver” benefit. As a member of the Common Application, colleges may not offer a perk to students using their own application, without offering the same benefit to students who choose to use the Common App. See your counselor, so we can assure that college will process the application “fee-free.”
Some Common Application schools and individual colleges allow you to cut and paste a Microsoft Word version of your resume into the online document, usually in the Questions section of the college's application. If you are unable to add your resume to the application document, please contact the college directly for its policy on resumes.
Please note: Your admissions file will not be sent to the Admissions Committee at the college until all required documents are received.
◊ Step 5 Submitting Applications
- Electronic applications and supporting documents (transcripts and recommendations) will usually be uploaded to a college’s server within 24 hours. The colleges need an additional 3-5 days to sort and match supporting documents after the application has been processed in their system ( 3-5 days after receipt). So, don’t be surprised to get a letter that indicates required documents are missing, as most times they are automatically generated when an application is entered in the database.
- Paper applications are rare. But if we are unable to send supporting documents electronically, we must send paper. Paper documents may be delayed 3- 4 weeks in processing, as they must be opened, sorted, scanned, and filed. In most cases, the paper documents are then destroyed, as most college admission offices are going “green” and admission officers need to access documents from home, as well as “on the road.”
◊ Step 6- Transcript Requests
Once you have requested letters of recommendation and have submitted your application, complete a transcript/ supporting documents request form for each college or university to which you are applying, as an official transcript must be sent to each college.
For a transcript to be official, it must be sent from the Guidance Office.
An unofficial transcript is one that is in your possession, and not sent directly from the School Counseling Office. You should use an unofficial transcript for visits, interviews, scholarships and coach contact. You do not need a transcript request form for an unofficial transcript. The student should come to the Guidance/School Counseling office and make an in-person request from their counselor or our support staff.
When requesting transcripts, please allow 15 school days in advance of your first deadline or target date, and 10 days before subsequent deadlines.
Under NACAC guidelines, deadlines cannot be before October 15.
If 1st deadline is October 15> request by September 20
If 1st deadline is November 1> request by October 10
If 1st deadline is November 15> request by October 23
If 1st deadline is December 1> request by November 4
If 1st deadline is January 1> request by November 26 (must be sent by Dec 20)
Transcripts include final grades through junior year and courses in progress/ current grades in senior year. For example, after 1st quarter grades are posted, transcripts will include all courses taken in grades 9, 10 and 11 with final grades and credits earned, as well as 1st quarter grades in all senior courses.
If you requested transcripts to be sent before first marking period grades were available, and your college then requests these 1st quarter or Mid Year grades, you must submit a separate request (no additional fee) to have an updated transcript sent. Mid Year grades will not be sent automatically.
Transcript request forms/first marking period grade requests/mid-year requests are available in Guidance/School Counseling Office.
We will submit transcripts electronically, through Naviance, to colleges to which you sent your application electronically. All Common Application schools and most other colleges prefer and will accept electronic transcripts.
At this time, please be aware that Rutgers does not want a transcript when you apply, but please advise your counselor that you’ve applied to Rutgers. You will complete a grade verification report as part of the application. A transcript will be required if the student is admitted and chooses to attend.
◊ Step 8- Submitting Test scores ( if required)
RFH cannot send test scores as they are not part of your official transcript.
Accepting Offer of Admission
You may find more than 1 college that is a good fit and has offered you spot in the freshamn class. Try using this decision matrix to help you decide.
May 1 is the universal application reply date. If accepting an offer of admission, you must do so by May 1 to insure a place in the freshman class.
Once a student has accepted an offer of admission, the student should acknowledge and decline all other offers.
If a student has applied and been accepted during the Early Decision period, he/she should decline any other offers and withdraw any applications even if admission decisions are still pending.
Wait Lists - (Coming soon)