What Materials Should I Prepare When I Apply for the University?

Application Strategy

What Materials Should I Prepare When I Apply for the University?

College applications fall into two categories: Common App and non-Common App.  Since I applied in the fall of 2008, the latter has gradually become an endangered species and, I suspect, will soon be extinct.


What is the Common Application?  It’s an online application that allows applicants to submit their materials to any of the 500+ member colleges, eliminating redundancies and saving you a lot of copying and pasting.  For most colleges, you will also be required to submit writing supplements. Supplements vary in form, but usually consist of short-answer questions or an additional personal essay.  Or both if you’re really lucky. Other materials to be submitted:

  • Teacher recommendations.  Usually two high school instructor’s reports are required. To be completed and submitted by your recommenders.
  • Secondary school report.  Official high school transcript. High school counselor’s recommendation and school profile.
  • Standardized test scores (SAT/SAT II/ACT).  To be submitted through their respective websites.

It’s important to remember that the application process is a collaborative process.  Follow up with your recommenders and college counselor(s) so nothing falls through the cracks.

Good luck!