My Applications Are Complete But My Counselor is Slacking!

Question: I am a HS Senior. Every presentation in 2016 & 2017 our Guidance Counselor presents and documents that we should apply as early as possible. Common App was available Aug 1st 2017, as well as most of my target schools. Unfortunately, even though I completed my part... the Colleges will NOT review the Application UNTIL Guidance sends Transcripts and Reference Letters and all they say now is 'we will meet the schools deadlines.'

Yes, it's normal. The go-getter students often submit applications before school has even started in the fall, and guidance counselors lag behind because they are usually meeting many needs ... not just those of the seniors .... and school start-up time is an especially hectic period for them.

Make sure that you have done everything you're supposed to do. This means not only submitting your portion of the applications but also completing and returning the "brag sheet" or any questionnaire that the counselor gave you or your parents to fill out. (And if your school doesn't require a brag sheet, you may want to put one together anyway. See these "Ask the Dean" columns for more suggestions: and )

At many of the colleges that have a fixed deadline (e.g., Nov. 1 or 15 for Early applicants; Jan. 1 or 15 for Regular Decision) it's likely that no one on the admission staff will so much as glance at the applications until those deadlines have passed. So it doesn't matter in the least if your guidance office submits their documents long after you've completed yours. But for colleges that offer some version of "Rolling Admission" (i.e, they evaluate applications as they come in), then earlier is almost always better. (Exception: Students whose grades were once low but have started to rise might want to wait to get even better senior grades before applying.)

You should consider Oct. 15 as a reasonable deadline for your counselor to submit materials, but it's fine to send your counselor a gentle reminder on Oct. 1 if nothing's been sent by then. If your college list is very long (maybe too long?), you should give your counselor a priority ranking. That is, let him or her know which of the schools are ready to evaluate your application now and need to get your credentials from the high school ASAP.

But, for Rolling Admission colleges, if everything is shipped out by Oct. 15, you have nothing to worry about ... except maybe getting in. ;-)