If your high school senior hasn’t filled out their Common app for college admissions, the holidays will have that extra layer of stress on everyone as they scramble to make the January 1 deadline. Following this checklist from Frances Kweller, Founder of Kweller Prep in Manhattan, will help them through their application process, stress-free. 

  1. Print and proofread – Don’t rely on the internet as a record-keeping tool.  Start with having your child print their application to fill it out in a separate word document so they have time to proofread and edit before they submit.  Then print the entire application to maintain records of everything you submitted. 
  2. Monitor the essay – Kids often don’t want to hear their parent’s opinion, so you can recommend that they reach out to an objective third-party, such as an english teacher or their guidance counselor who can provide some valuable feedback on their essay.  Do, however, remind them that the essay must be applicable to any school they apply to. For example, a business school will not want an essay discussing the liberal arts program. 
  3. Keep receipts – Record keeping with college admissions is critical.  When you receive email confirmations, such as confirming test score and transcript requests, print those confirmations out and keep as part of your college admissions’ records, along with the application, and essay. 
  4. Order test scores and transcripts – Confirm that your child has ordered all standardized test scores and transcripts to be sent directly to their colleges of choice. Each University must receive a copy of their scores and high school transcripts for admissions consideration. 
  5. Remember the recommendations – Many students are shy about asking for recommendations, but it’s critical to their admissions.  Urge your child to stay on top of their recommendation requests and to not be apprehensive about reminding their teachers or professionals.  They are used to the nudge and will be more than happy to send those recommendations. 

We all know that this is a very stressful time of the year and if your child waited until now to get all of this done you are likely frustrated.  However, you don’t need the added anxiety at this time of year, and neither do they, so set the tone by moving through the to-do list as a partnership rather than a parent overseeing their work.  Approaching this with intention and focus will reduce everyone’s stress and assure a successful outcome.   

Written by Pippa Rodriguez. 


  • Pippa Rodriguez

    Pippa Rodriguez

    I write about entrepreneurs and cool stuff they do, travel, food and well-being.