College Admissions Timeline
Here are the steps we will take in working together:
Creating a Team
- Introductory meeting. In this meeting (typically by phone or video chat), we will get to know each other and figure out if it’s a good fit.
- The family signs the Agreement and pays the fee, which varies with the student’s year. Families with financial need may qualify for a pro bono (no charge) agreement.
- The student fills out the New Student Form and parents fill out the Parent Questionnaire.
- The family sends high school (or homeschool) transcript and next year’s proposed courses to TCC. We provide feedback/suggestions on high school course selections for upcoming year(s).
- We review the student’s extracurricular activities, including plans for summer activities, jobs, clubs, and sports. We brainstorm how the student might pursue interests in more depth.
- For students with special needs or accommodations (e.g., extra time on tests), we explore how this factor might impact the process of standardized testing and college selection. If there are any psychological testing reports or educational plans (e.g., IEPs or 504s), the family can submit those for review as well.
- We help the student decide which standardized tests to take and whether any additional test prep may be needed. TCC reviews previous test results to help the student decide whether to retest.
- Based on conversations with the student and the New Student Form, we identify the key qualities the student is seeking in potential colleges (e.g., location, cost, fields of study, size). TCC may suggest other criteria for choosing schools based on our assessment of the student’s personality and strengths.
Identifying Best-Match Colleges
- The student and consultant research potential colleges.
- We work together to create a list of schools. This list may be revised as needed.
- The family visits colleges, often during school breaks. TCC recommends scheduling no more than two schools per day. Take notes and photos!
Preparing College Applications
- The student creates a resume listing jobs, awards, and achievements to serve as a reference when completing applications.
- Students who are artists or musicians may create an online portfolio showcasing their best work to submit as part of their applications.
- The student writes drafts of one or more essays, usually during the spring of junior year or the summer before senior year. In addition to a Common App essay, students may need to write several supplemental essays depending on the colleges chosen.
- The student requests letters of recommendation from at least two people. One letter is usually from the high school guidance counselor – except in the case of homeschooled students – and one is from a teacher who knows the student well. We can help students select their letter writers. Students typically request letters in the early fall of senior year.
- If applying for financial aid, the family should become familiar with the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, and gather any needed documentation. Net Price Calculators (found on the financial aid pages of college websites) can help the family decide which colleges are likely to be affordable for them.
- We discuss whether to submit any early applications. In some cases, applying early can improve a student’s chances of admission. On the other hand, Early Decision (unlike Early Action) applications represent a binding commitment, and may limit options for financial aid.
- The student completes and submits applications, including financial aid forms (FAFSA and/or CSS Profile). International students may be required to provide additional documentation, such as proof of ability to pay. TCC can help clarify aspects of this process that may be confusing.
- Schedule interviews, if applicable. Interviews are often optional but recommended. We can help the student prepare for interviews.
- Review and compare offers from schools. Financial aid offers may be negotiable.
- Make a final decision. Notify schools and your consultant of your decision.