College Planning

Top 10 College Application Mistakes:

1. Misspellings and grammatical errors
2. Applying online, but the application isn't submitted
3. Forgotten signatures
4. Not reading carefully
5. Listing extracurricular activities that aren't really extracurricular activities
    (hanging out with friends) 
6. Not telling your school counselor where you've applied
7. Writing illegibly
8. Using an email address that friends might laugh about, but colleges won't
9. Not checking your email regularly
10. Letting Mom or Dad help you fill out your application

College Planning Terms:

  • Common/universal application-----allows a student to submit one application to many different schools. Go to and Some schools also require supplemental forms.
  • Early decision-----a binding agreement between you and the school. You apply early, and if admitted, are bound to attend the school. The application deadline occurs early and the admission decision is delivered early.
  • Rolling admission-----A process in which a school reviews applications and makes decisions on them throughout the year.
  • Early action-----you can apply to an early action school and receive your admission response early. The decision is usually non-binding, but you may agree to forgo applying to other early action/early decision institutions. When conditions apply it is sometimes called Restrictive Early Action.
  • Open admissions-----an admission decision, usually made by public junior and community colleges, without regard to your academic performance.
  • Transcript-----the official record of your educational achievements, provided by your high school.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)-----the key to unlocking student financial aid, it should be completed and submitted as soon after January 2 as possible. The form and supporting information can be found at

Making the most of college visits:

Find questions to ask at:
College visit pocket guide:

Common Data Set: Narrowing Down College Options:

One easy way to get a snapshot of a potential school is to review its Common Data Set. These uniform reporting documents, which are provided by many universities, contain a wealth of information, including admission rates, financial aid sources, high school course requirements and recommendations, and more. These forms quickly tell students whether or not the school fits with their graduation goals, skills and ability to afford a school. To locate, type "Common Data Set" into the search function on each school's website.