There are many dos and don’ts for the college application process. I’ll cover a few tips with a focus on making the process go as smoothly as possible.
DO: Submit the application before the deadline
You're in control of when you click submit. Don't wait.
You’ll often hear that you need to submit by the deadline. The best choice is actually to submit before the deadline.
Submitting even one day early will make it more likely that you will get your application processed and IDs assigned days before students who submit on the deadline. If you can submit one week before the deadline, we’ll likely be able to have your application matched with all it’s supporting materials and in review before the deadline. This means you’ll know sooner if there is anything missing and be able to get information to us faster. You can learn more about the timeline for processing applications in one of my other of my articles.
PRO TIP: For artistic programs that require an audition or portfolio we strongly encourage you to apply one month in advance to allow ample time for scheduling the audition or submitting the portfolio by the deadline. Additionally, our second degree programs have priority deadlines that you should aim to meet.
Submitting after the deadline is always a bad idea. IF you’re even allowed to submit you’re automatically putting yourself at a disadvantage by having your application be one of the last to complete and be reviewed. Many times, it will be too late and you will have to wait an entire year to apply for the next cycle.
DON'T: Wait for an admissions decision to apply for financial aid
Don’t wait to apply for financial aid. Our deadlines are strict and happen long before decisions are released. Waiting to apply until you find out you’re admitted will leave you in a lurch. We require the CSS Profile for all applicants and the FAFSA for US Citizens and permanent residents. New York State Residents should also complete TAP.
PRO TIP: The only way we match the FAFSA application with your record is your SSN so make sure you include it on your Common Application. If you don’t include it, you’ll need to verify it directly with us. You should do this before decisions release. That way you’ll have your full financial aid package to review while making your decision about attending NYU.
DO: Complete all parts of your application
I know this is very obvious. However, every year we have thousands of students who miss one or more important piece. They don’t submit at all or are denied while incomplete.
Make sure you do the following:
- Submit the application.
- Ensure the application fee is paid or waived.
- Send (or have your school send) all required supporting documents.
Double check that your counselor and recommender emails are correct. If you don’t put in the correct email on the Common Application, they won’t get notified to send in your documents.
PRO TIP: For your supporting documents, stick to what we ask for. We’re reviewing thousands of applications and in a cluttered file the important information gets lost. Focus on your transcript, test scores, and only the recommendations we ask for. The Common Application includes space to list your awards and activities as well as space to provide additional information. That’s exactly where you should do it, in the application. Don’t send separate communications with extraneous information that clutters up your file (e.g. award certificates, extra recommendation letters, writing samples, etc.).
DON'T: Use your current school email address
Using your current school email address will lead to troubles when you lose access to this account after leaving your school. Some students feel their current school email is the most “professional” option, however it’s not practical in the long run.
Instead, use a personal email account on the CommonApp and when you set up your NYU account. There are many free email providers out there if you don’t have a personal email account yet.
PRO TIP: NYU is a Google for Education school, so setting up a GMail account is one good option. It will allow you to get used to their interface and lead to an easy transition to your NYU email when you become a student.
DO: Stay in contact with us and read our emails
One of the best ways to stay in touch with us is by setting up your NYU account and frequently checking your application status page. You’ll set up your account at NYU Start once we send you your NYU IDs (normally within a few days of clicking submit on the CommonApp).
SPOILER ALERT: If we’re emailing you after you’ve applied, it’s important. We might be missing important documents. There might be a scholarship you’re eligible for that you need to know about. We might need you to log in to your status page to fill out a form or upload something. Almost always there will be a deadline associated with these requests. Don’t just skim it. Please read the email fully and complete the action by the deadline.
If you are emailing us, make sure to always include the following:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- CommonApp ID OR NYU ID (something like N99999999)
This will make sure we can find your file quickly and answer your questions. Without this information it will take longer for us to help you and the answers you get won’t be tailored to your specific situation. Additionally, if you’re emailing or calling us about a technical issue let us know what device you’re using (mobile, tablet, computer, etc.). Knowing what device you’re on will help us give you accurate troubleshooting tips.
TL;DR: Go back and read it. Spoiler, reading is tip #5.