College Applications

College admissions officers consider many factors in determining whether or not to accept you.  Your application plays a major role in their decision.  It will be scrutinized by a committee who will form an impression of you without even seeing you. Since the application frequently gives the college its only picture of you and your record, its value cannot be over-emphasized.  It can be the most decisive factor in whether or not the college of your choice chooses you. Of course, much of the material on the application is objective.  Name, address and date of birth cannot be varied.  However, your answers to other parts of the application will reveal a great deal about you. Many college admission officers freely admit that some applicants who are denied are as good as, if not better, than some of those accepted.  Often, denied college applicants are dismayed to discover that classmates with equal or even lower averages and college entrance examination results were accepted.  One college official stated, "I should like to emphasize the point that there was little difference between the credentials of the students offered admission and those who were not." The reason for denial may be found in how students filled out their applications, particularly essays.  Other items besides grade point averages and tests results are heavily weighed because colleges believe, quite correctly, that they cannot judge you on grades alone. Colleges also want to know about your interests, activities and hobbies.  What have you done in school besides taking courses?  Have you contributed to your school community and community at large?   What specific examples of leadership have you exhibited?  If you haven't given evidence of leadership in the past, chances are, according to most authorities, that you will not develop such qualities in college.


The college officials are also interested in your special talents such as creative arts, musical ability and athletic prowess.  They would like to know more about your personality.  Frequently this means sending additional, supplementary material to them as an adjunct to your application. The college application has become the most important device for the evaluation of all of these characteristics.  We include with the application letters of recommendation from your counselor and the teacher(s) that you chose.  These, directly or indirectly, tell much about your personality. With so much at stake, it becomes apparent that the application should be filled out with the utmost of care. 


Good English is a very important factor.  Never compromise on this point for speed, brevity, or any other reason.  Where there is a long answer consisting of a sentence or more, write out the answer on a trial sheet of paper and have a competent person who can judge grammar, form and content, review it to find errors and make suggestions.  You should make a photocopy of the application and work with the copy before filling out the actual application itself. 

Be certain that you answer all questions.  The college authorities have given a great deal of thought to the information that they want from you.  Failure to answer a question may cause them to assume the worst.  Thus, if you omit an answer to the question concerning your hobbies, the authorities have the right to assume that you have no hobbies.  In the strong competition for college admissions, any such judgment is a strike against you.   


A very crucial question is how modest you should be.  True, much of the application is cut and dry.  It calls for care, accuracy and clarity.  Other questions will deal with your abilities.   For example, there may be a question concerning your high school leadership experiences  and your contributions to the school.  To be boastful will cause a disagreeable reaction; yet the answer must be written in such a way that it will show you in the most favorable light and will emphasize those qualities you wish to spotlight. 


Be very careful that all questions are answered accurately.  This may require some research on your part.  You may estimate, for example, the length of time that you served in some activity.  In checking the facts, you may discover that you overestimated this period.  This could create an unfavorable impression.  Sometimes, on checking, you may discover activities in which you participated early in your high school career that you have forgotten.


College Application Checklist

 The following is a guide for parents and students when applying to colleges:

Spring of Junior Year You and your parents meet with your Counselor to discuss the college search.  From this meeting, you should acquire a potential list of colleges and universities. 
Spring of Junior Year Attend the college fair sponsored by Private and Indepedent Schools of Delaware which is held at Salesianum or St. Mark's High School.  If you have already met with your Counselor to discuss the college search, this college fair can be very productive as you will have a chance to ask researched questions and get important information that may play a role in where you eventually go to college.
Spring of Junior Year Ask teachers for a letter of recommendation.  You should ask at least one but no more than three teachers for letters.  Your Counselor will also write a letter for you.
Spring of Junior Year Complete your resume of school, work and activity experiences along with honors and awards received and leadership roles held.
Summer of Junior Year Visit colleges and universities. Narrow your list of schools.
Fall of Senior Year Fill out college applications and submit them through Naviance. You must list them on Naviance by placing that school onto the "schools to which I am applying" list and click the link to request transcripts so the Guidance office knows to send out school reports and transcripts to the school.  See below for more information on the college applications.
Fall of Senior Year

Research and fill out applications regarding scholarships and grants.  Your search can begin by checking the list on Naviance under Scholarship List.

Winter of Senior Year

Finish filling out college applications.  Parents should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in early January.  Review all acceptances and financial aid packages to determine your best options. 

Winter/Spring of Senior Year Select the college you would like to attend and notify each college of your decision.

Submitting College Applications

  1. Fill out the application for the colleges to which you are applying. Request help from your parents or Guidance Counselor if you do not understand certain questions on the application.
  2. AFTER filling out application, go to your Naviance page. Once you are logged in go to "my colleges," click "request transcripts." Then notate which college it is that you are applying and what type of decision you are applying for. Be sure to indicate that you have submitted your application.  Once this is completed, it lets your counselor know that you have applied to that school and prompts them to get your transcript and all other forms ready to be sent out. If appropriate, turn in the application to the Guidance office along with any other supplemental forms (ie. Secondary School reports, teacher evaluations, college essays, etc..). 
  3. The Guidance staff will review all applications before they are mailed. 
  4. A complete application from the student will include the following:
Complete Description
  The Application (if not done online)
  Application fee or fee waiver
  Supplemental forms


** If you turn in applications to the Guidance office, please do so in a timely manner.  Our staff would like to have time to review all applications, make corrections if needed and send the entire application in one mailing.  Receiving one piece of mail for an application is preferred by most colleges.  If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate counselor.