College Application Checklist
Testing (Optional for some universities this year)
Check the websites for the latest information on the ACT or the SAT dates, test registration procedures and deadlines, test preparation information, college search engines, scholarship search sites, and a host of other helpful FREE resources. Are the tests REQUIRED or are they TEST OPTIONAL for the Class of 2021? As juniors, you were advised to take two SAT Tests and one ACT Test and we highly recommend seniors test again in the fall of their senior year with the knowledge of which test, SAT or ACT, had the higher scores. Some universities also require SAT Subject Area Tests, so check the admissions requirements with each institution. Send your test scores to up to four colleges or universities when your register! Test scores MUST be sent from the testing agency and arrive in the university’s admission office prior to the deadline! These first four score reports are free and there is a charge for additional score reports.
(There is a fee for AP Score Reports so many seniors wait and send their AP scores to the college they will attend, unless it is a requirement of a college’s application.)
(Take the SAT & ACT PLUS WRITING)
The application for admission is the first “official” step in the application process. Submit a carefully completed application to each college or university that you have determined to be your top choices; this includes back-up schools, “dream schools”, and/or the hometown favorite. Be sure to update all of your college choices in “Colleges I’m Applying To” in Naviance! Some universities have a scholarship link attached to the Apply Texas, so look for that as well. For out-of-state universities, many use the Common App or have their own application on their website. Visit the website of each university on your list for application information to learn the options to apply. We do NOT recommend the Coalition application as it is not user friendly to students or their recommenders, so please use another option when possible. Do NOT submit your application until someone else has proofread your essays, your application, and looked over your Expanded Activity Resume. Your IWA English teachers are a valuable resource! Make sure your applications are well written, top quality, and are a reflection of the great student you are!
Our College Board School Code School Code is 441505
It is best to send official high school transcripts AFTER the college or university has received your completed application. Official high school transcripts must be requested through Naviance and will be sent from Mrs. Trevino (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the IWA registrar’s office to the admissions offices of all of the colleges or universities to which you are applying. Your official transcript should reflect at least six completed semesters of high school coursework. The registrar can only send the most current transcript on file, but if a student’s GPA improves in January, additional transcripts can always be sent up until the admissions deadline date for that college or university. Remember to request your official transcripts from Mrs. Trevino through Naviance at least 48 hours before the electronic delivery deadline and at least ten days before the deadline for delivery by mail. Seniors may print an unofficial copy of their transcript and make copies to have available for scholarship applications. (Naviance—About Me—My Stuff—Documents Shared with Me—Students Documents, Unofficial Six Semester Transcripts)
Essays are your opportunity to let the college get to know you as a unique individual and for your voice to be heard. Be honest, authentic, coherent, concise, likable, and transparent as you tell your story. Whenever given the opportunity to submit an essay, write it! Pay attention to the mechanics of good writing, including spelling and punctuation. Use spellcheck and ask your parents, English teachers, counselors, and other people you trust to proofread your essays before submitting them. Listen to their advice, but the final decision of the essay you submit is yours.
Expanded Activity Resume
Use the IWA digital template to create and print an Expanded Activity Resume for college applications and include all activities beginning with the summer BEFORE you entered ninth grade. The addition of action verbs will showcase your role in each activity and help the college admissions offices to see what a great applicant you are! This is not a time to be shy or humble, so, let your achievements shine! The Expanded Activity Resume is IN ADDTION to completing the required activity fields in Apply Texas. Save a copy of all activity resumes, applications, and essays to your IWA H drive, a flash drive, and email them to yourself for easy access.
Letters of Recommendation
Most colleges will accept 2-3 letters of recommendation and some universities require these letters. Research this on the college website. When school reopens, you may stop by the IWA College & Guidance Center (room 107) to pick up the forms for the letters of recommendation for teachers, counselors, and personal recommendations. Forms have been emailed to all seniors. Please remember to include your updated Expanded Activity Resume.
It is important to meet all deadlines!
At many universities the scholarship deadline is prior to the admissions deadline or the financial aid deadline. The best plan is to have all application documents submitted to each university by whichever is the FIRST of their deadlines. Check the college website to confirm the deadlines.
Contact each college admissions office to confirm they have received all of your admissions documents. Some colleges and universities have this feature on their website and this information can be easily accessed by a login and password. For others, you might call or e-mail to verify that they have received your information. Do not assume the paperwork has arrived just because it has been sent, whether it was sent electronically or by mail. Make copies of all paperwork before you send it and be prepared to send some items again. The point is to get all of the required parts of your application to each college long before their admissions deadline so that you are allowing time for any items that might need to be sent again.
Visit (In-person or Virtual)
Most colleges or universities have a webpage that outlines their tour times, on-campus events, and other visitation options. IWA Seniors are allowed two college visit days, so take advantage of this opportunity. Make arrangements for your college visit days in advance through Mrs. Garcia in the IWA attendance office.
The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is a provision in Senate Bill 286 that requires public colleges & universities in Texas to assess the academic skills of each enrolling first-time freshman in math, reading, and writing. Unless a student is exempt via SAT/ACT Test Scores, a test score from an assessment must be on file with the college prior to registering for classes. Be sure to check with the college admission’s office to determine which test scores they will accept.
Note: Even if exempt, education majors attending state universities are required to take one of the approved TSI assessment tests. Again, the TSI only applies to State of Texas public colleges and universities.
TSI Testing is available through the Del Mar College Testing Center. (361) 698-1645
Complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online as soon as possible after October 1, 2020 using your 2019 Income Tax Return. A FAFSA must be on file with each school to which you have applied in order to be considered for any form of federal or state assistance; Pell Grant, TEXAS Grant, Work Study Employment, Stafford Loans, are some examples. Many scholarships also require that the FAFSA be on file, regardless of need. Remember, the FAFSA is free so if you find yourself in a website asking for money, you are in the wrong website. Another application some universities require is the CSS profile, so that is another question to ask. This can be found at www.collegeboard.org.
FSA ID: Federal Student Aid ID
The FSA ID is the personal identification you will need in order to electronically sign your FAFSA online. To apply for a FSA ID number, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov.
The student and only one parent will each need a FSA ID in order to apply for student loans in the student’s name as well as Parent Plus Loans. The student and one parent must have their own separate email addresses in order to register for a FSA ID. The federal student loans are deferred until the student graduates from college, whether that is four, six or eight years of study. There is a six month grace period after graduation before the loan repayment period begins.
At many schools, the housing process is totally separate from the admissions application. On-campus housing is mandatory at some schools, while highly recommended at others. Be sure to check the college websites to understand their procedures and deadlines.
Scholarships are the most sought-after form of financial assistance. Scholarships are not awarded through the government, but through the colleges and hundreds of other organizations, agencies, companies, individuals, and foundations. Therefore, a thorough scholarship application process will involve completing many separate scholarship applications. Beware of scholarship scams that promise you a fast-track guarantee to scholarship dollars. Many websites provide reputable scholarship searches and are free. Contact the financial aid office of each college you are applying to find out about their in-house scholarship opportunities. Again, many of the scholarship deadlines are before the admission deadlines. Therefore, be sure you have submitted all of the required documents on time. Check the scholarships listed on Naviance and be sure to report all scholarships you are awarded to our collegiate mentors and/or the counselors and via Naviance. Funds may be limited, so apply early!
Make a Decision
Once all of your college acceptance and financial aid offers are received, make a decision and inform the colleges if you will or will not be attending their school by the requested deadline. Remember, other students may be on a wait list and are anxious to know if they are accepted as well.
May 2021: Remember to request through Naviance that Mrs. Trevino, our registrar, send your official high school transcript showing completion of graduation requirements to the actual college or university you will be attending. Also, remember to contact the Registrar’s Office at Del Mar College to send your Dual Credit Transcript to the college you plan to attend.
Orientation (In-person or Virtual)
Most colleges and universities require some kind of orientation program for first-time students. Orientation is the transition from the application process to the enrollment process. Time is spent familiarizing students with the campus, exposing them to the catalog, advising, and ultimately registering for classes. Registration for orientation sessions is available through the university’s website.
Go to College
Study hard, make new friends, have fun, but always remember to come back and see your IWA Family! You will be missed!
Important: Save a copy of all activity resumes, applications, and essays to a flash drive and email them to yourself for easy access.