Last-Minute College Application Tips
By Joe Emerson | Last Updated: Jul 15, 2022
If you’re unsure where you’re attending college at this stage, it’s probably for one of two reasons -- needing help wrapping up your applications or waiting until now to begin the college application process. Whatever camp you fall into, here’s some good news: we have some valuable, last-minute college application tips that can make a big difference in where and when you attend college.
Last-Minute College Application Tips for Wrapping Up the Process
Based on the calendar, most people working to become college freshmen in the fall should primarily be doing one thing right now: following up.
The school year brought a litany of to-do’s for college-bound seniors, from consulting with counselors and reaching out for letters of recommendation to completing a seemingly endless stream of forms. With that done, now is the time to review your senior year timeline to make sure nothing has been overlooked by you or by those who need to act on your behalf.
Use the checklist below to ensure you’re on the right track:
- Follow up on applications
- Continue watching for notifications from colleges
- Submit outstanding financial aid forms and midyear grades
- Make a plan
- Compare the financial aid packages you’re offered
- Stay on top of any final tests that could count for college credit
- Notify colleges of your final decision
- Double check the financial aid package from your college of choice
- Finish your enrollment paperwork
Already on the right track? Consider these additional steps as you get ready to commit to your college of choice.
- Create a professional email address. You don’t want an admissions officer at the college of your choice reading an email from HisDudeness2000@hotmail.com. Consider an email that contains your name instead.
- Clean up your social media. It’s a good idea to do this before schools get the chance to research you and spot potential red flags.
- Revisit each application to ensure all required fees and student forms have been paid, completed, sent, and received.
College Application Tips for Procrastinators
If you've left your college applications to the last minute, there’s still hope. But you need to get started making a target list of schools, writing application essays, considering financial aid options and, of course, filling out and sending applications as soon as possible. It’s time to re-evaluate, refocus, and streamline.
All the aforementioned tips are essential, but you need ways to make the tasks manageable:
- Go with a shorter target list. Applying to the oft-recommended five to eight schools might be too much at this point. In fact, a lot of application deadlines have come and gone. However, there are schools that accept students on a rolling admissions basis. Use an application service such as the Common Application, if the schools you’re applying to use it, so you can retool a single application for all your target colleges.
- Applying to USF? Complete your USF Application.
- Pursue all remaining student aid options. It’s too late for many scholarships, but you can still beat the clock on some federal, state, and college deadlines. The U.S. Department of Education has a good tool for starting your research on deadlines.
If you have questions about the application process and deadlines at USF, feel free to speak with one of our admissions advisors. They have a wealth of knowledge and are ready to help you take the next step. Contact us online, or call us at 813-974-3350 if you need help applying or have more questions.
About Joe Emerson
Joe Emerson spent 30 years as a magazine and newspaper reporter, editor and copyeditor who turned to freelancing after 20 years with The Tampa Tribune, which closed in 2016 after 125 years of serving the Tampa Bay area. Writing and delivering valuable information remain his passion.