Peterson’s Application Checklist

An important step in the college selection process is completing an application. Most applications require biographical information, educational history, activity and work summaries and one or more short essays. In addition to the application, colleges may require a copy of your transcript, results of standardized tests, recommendations by your teachers and counselor and sometimes samples of your school work.

Your college application is a reflection of who you are and what you have accomplished. It is your opportunity to present yourself as you would like others to see you. Don’t underestimate the significance of your responses to the questions. Use your best effort, pay attention to the details, and be conscious of good grammar, proper mechanics, correct spelling and neatness.

Here are some pointers on completing your applications. Complete a Personal Data Sheet (attached) before tackling your applications. It will help you gather all your information before you sit down to fill out multiple applications.

___  Make copies of the original applications. Use the copies as worksheets and work on them until you are satisfied with your answers. Then transfer them to the original.

___  Prepare a separate folder for each application with key dates and information noted on the outside. Make sure you have all the forms required. Keep a copy of everything you send to each college.

___  Use your Personal Data Sheet for the factual information about your background.

___  Investigate using an on-line application to submit your application. Most colleges allow students to complete their applications on-line.

___  Know why you are applying to each school. Application fees can range from $5 to over $50. Five or six applications could add up to hundreds of dollars. Use a college search program or college guide to identify colleges that meet your needs and interests.

___  Read the application instructions carefully and follow each to the letter.

___  Don’t wait until the day before the deadline to prepare the application. The application is a reflection of you. Take pride in its authorship.

___   Be honest when identifying your extracurricular activities. Colleges want to build a class composed of people with diverse talents and interests. It is better to demonstrate actual involvement in a few activities than minimal involvement in many.

___   Include a picture of yourself, if requested. It personalizes the application,

___  Present the admission committee with information that “paints a picture of you”.

___  Type or write neatly. Have someone proofread your work. Critique your application as if you were the admission officer.

___  Ask your guidance counselor for help if you need it.

___  Submit supplementary materials if required, such as writing samples or art work.

___  Arrange for your official transcripts and test scores to be sent to each college.

___  Ask for recommendations far enough in advance to give the writers plenty of time to prepare. Offer to meet with them or provide a written overview of your academics, interests and goals. Send a thank-you note. Provide addressed and stamped envelopes.

___  Be sure to document any special circumstances such as learning disability, special talent, illness or a unique family situation.

___  Make copies of each completed application.



Essays include such topics as personal experience; reaction to a book, work of art, or historical figure; why you are interested in a particular field of study; or your insights about an issue or event. Whatever the topic, you should strive to project “you” through your writing. Personalize it so that it becomes an interview on paper. Write, rewrite and write again until your essay truly reflects you as a person. Try to discuss what sets you apart from other applicants but don’t stray from the topic.

___  Do not repeat information presented in other parts of the application.

___  Use specific examples from your own experience and avoid generalizations. Depth is more important than breadth.

___  Be honest.

___  Be yourself.

___ Choose the style you would like to use for your essay. Prose?  Poetry?

___  Write a draft and then put it aside for at least a day. Read it again and ask yourself if it creates the desired image.

___  Have someone you respect read it and comment honestly on it.

___  Read the essay aloud to hear how it sounds.

___  Proofread it (check grammar and spelling) and retype if necessary.


Personal Data Sheet

Fill out this form before you begin to complete your college applications. It will make completing individual applications easier later on and give you a comprehensive record of your activities and strengths.

Father’s Name:
Mother’s Name:

High School Name:
Guidance Counselor:

CEEB Number (available from guidance counselor):

Junior Year GPA:
Senior Year GPA:

Class Rank Junior Year:
Class Rank Senior Year:

Test Scores:
            SAT I:
            SAT II:

Awards and Honors — include Honor Roll status:

Extracurricular Activities — include weeks per year, hours per week, positions held, and if you are interested in continuing the activity on the college level.

Work Experience — list where you worked, for how long, and what you did:

Community Service — list what you did and for how long:

Travel — list any travel or related experiences you feel are relevant to your personal growth:

Recommendations — list name, address, and phone number of teachers, employers, church or community service leaders of personal acquaintances who might write a recommendation for you:


Peterson’s College Selection Service (make copies)


Contact Person:

Inquiry letter sent:
Items requested:

Catalog and application received:

Tests required and dates taken:

Application deadline:

Type of federal financial aid form required:
Date sent:

Other financial aid forms required:
Dates sent:

Recommendations requested from:

Application mailed:
Transcript sent:

College visit date:
Admissions interview with:

Ratings & impressions:
            Overall visit:

Other interviews with:

Admissions notification received:  __ Accepted   __ Deferred   __ Rejected   __Wait Listed

Financial Aid offered:

Reply sent:

Housing Form sent:
Deposit:  $

Copyright © 1995 by Peterson’s Guides, Inc.