Road to College: You’ve Applied, Now What?

Phot by Yaroslav Shuraev (

For many students, submitting the application can feel like the end of the road. After all, they’ve successfully completed months of compiling essays, forms, recommendation letters, and resumes. What happens next is out of their hands, right? Not exactly. As the road to college nears these final waypoints, there is still much students can do to ensure they continue to put their best foot forward. While there are many potential pitfalls, there remain many opportunities. 

Checking In 

One often overlooked step that students should take after submitting their applications is to check in regularly with the college(s) admissions submission portal. First, and most importantly, this will provide a means of double-checking that all required application materials have been officially received by the institution, ensuring your application is officially ready for review. It’s not uncommon for items like test score reports and recommendation letters to be delayed or unreceived due to technological or human errors.  

These portals are also often filled with next steps, ways to continue to learn and engage with the institution, and opportunities for additional materials and information to be submitted. These additional opportunities to demonstrate interest can add clear value to your status as an applicant, sometimes making the difference between the dreaded waitlist offer and an acceptance letter. 

Monitoring Email 

Ensuring students keep a close eye on their email inbox (and junk folder!) can make the difference between completing a successful alumni interview and missing the opportunity altogether! Schools will often communicate with students regarding invitations to opportunities like interviews, as well as to notify them of any missing information or application errors that they may need to resolve before reviewing your application. 

Maintain the GPA  

With the bulk of the main application work behind them, students should continue to focus on grades, even beyond quarter one. A student’s performance throughout senior year can certainly come into play in admissions decisions. For instance, in the event of a waitlist offer, maintaining a high GPA and continued student engagement will be an important component of a student’s ability to continue demonstrating academic readiness and aptitude. While senior year is a time to have fun, students should also continue to maintain focus on academic performance. If quarter one was rocky, quarter two can be a great chance to show a rebound as they will no longer be working on applications. 

Though much of the hard work is certainly behind you, being mindful, engaged, and organized through until you step foot on campus (and beyond!) will ensure students feel satisfied in knowing they did all they could to maximize admissions outcomes during these final steps on the road to college.  

Tony Di Giacomo Ph.D. is an educator and founder of Novella Prep. He has 20 years of university experience in admissions, development, teaching, and research. Contact him at 

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About the Author: Tony Di Giacomo, Ph.D.