The feeling of submitting college applications has no equal, both in terms of the optimism you cannot help but feel and the fear of rejection that you cannot remove. Indeed, it is the official consummation of a long, 12-year journey through academic classes, extracurricular activities, standardized tests, honors and awards that has largely dominated your life since the moment you first walked into that kindergarten classroom 13 years ago. But whether you are about to experience splendor or somberness, one thing is certain – your job is done. Or is it?
To be clear, yes, most of your work in applying to colleges is done. PHEW! However, there are still a few things that both deserve and require your attention. For virtually all colleges, your submission of an application is followed by an invitation to their admission portal, a separate website through which you can submit supplemental material, and through which they will send out notifications of acceptance, deferral, or rejection. It is also the place you will either accept or reject a place on their waiting list. Various college portals differ in terms of what they offer and how they work. Almost all require you to set up an account, with a unique username and password. Then, you will have to read carefully to determine what else can and should be done through the portal.
For students who wish to provide supplemental materials such as a portfolio, writing sample, research paper, or online resource, the portal may be the place to do so. The portal itself will contain information in terms of what kinds of supplements they allow or encourage. Alternatively, many colleges use SlideRoom, which is a separate application that allows students to submit supplemental materials. Again here, different colleges allow different sorts of supplemental materials to be uploaded. In some cases, you will only be allowed to submit visual arts portfolios. In others, you will be able to upload a greater variety of supplemental materials.
Students should also be aware that some colleges require that you provide additional information after they receive your application. There may be additional essays to write (Really? Yes, really!), or supporting materials to upload. Some may ask for your latest grades, your updated transcript, or your latest test scores. For athletes, the portal may be the place for you to upload talent videos or your athletic profiles.
As you see, it is important to remember that when you receive that email from a college to which you have already applied, pay attention to it, follow the instructions it provides, and make sure to be responsive to each and every request, requirement, and deadline.