Ways to brush up your college application before you hit submit

College application form



By Frances Kweller, Founder of Kweller Prep


The saying “timing is everything” is never more true than in the college application process. From taking the SAT/ACT to writing your personal essay and submitting your application on the Common app, the process can take months. The majority of students will apply to school for regular decision and must be aware of the general January 1 submission deadline.

Under regular decision guidelines, students can apply to as many schools as they want. Here are six things to remember before hitting submit on your Common app application.


  1. Make sure the schools you want to go to are on the Common app – Not every school uses the Common app, so you should verify that the schools you are applying to subscribe.  Otherwise, you will need to then fill out a separate application for those not on the Common app.
  2. Don’t be afraid of the sticker price – Applying to private schools can land you a great scholarship. Private research universities have money allocated toward grants and scholarships more so than state universities. You won’t get your financial status until after you get accepted, but it doesn’t hurt to apply.
  3. Be aware of the deadlines and start the application process early – Do not wait to fill out your application at the last minute.  The best time to do this is in September, but if you are a procrastinator, you might wait until Christmas break, which is never a good idea.  So start right now. There’s also an authenticity in the essay for those who start early and take their time to craft it carefully.
  4. Print and proofread – Print out your application and fill it out on a separate word document, so you have to time to proofread and edit before you submit.  Also, having an outsider to proofread your essay is a smart way to get objective feedback. An English teacher, guidance counselor, or a college counselor can provide some valuable feedback.
  5. Answer the questions being asked – Remember to actually answer the specific question being asked on the application.  You will have answers that you want, things you will want to say, but you also must answer their specific questions.  Answer slowly and deliberately to be sure you have checked all boxes.
  6. Pay attention to the length – Some applications may want 500 words, others might want 250, so make sure you hit that mark within the length requested to show that you are paying attention and can assert focus.


Frances Kweller is a lawyer, and an education and testing standards and college admissions expert. She founded Kweller Prep in 2000 while a college student at NYU. Her program was developed to offer accelerated educational opportunities to students within the same neighborhood in Forest Hills, Queens where she was raised. Throughout the years,  Kweller Prep expanded across two locations in New York City, employs over fifty tutors, and published its own line of textbooks. Ms. Kweller graduated from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and from Hofstra University School of Law. She is a mother of two young girls, Jessica and Michelle, and looks forward to their participation in her prep program.