US Applications for schools: what needs to be done and when?

Guides / USA

For schools new to managing US applications, here’s a quick overview of some suggested timings for working with your students:

Summer Term of L6 / Y12:

  • students should make a decision that they will be applying to the USA, and sign up to any agreed school policies and deadlines. Having an application agreement form that parents can countersign can smooth the process later, with clear deadlines to meet;

  • students can register on the Common Application (perhaps do this as a group session), and start to complete the biographical information;

  • students can request references from their subject teachers. As a school, you may wish to compile all requests yourself so that one or two teachers are not overloaded.

  • offering a reference writing workshop for teachers can help at this point students should start to work on their Common App essay

Autumn Term of U6 / Y12:

  • students should ‘assign’ their teachers and counselor to an actual application, triggering the emails from the Common App so that information can be uploaded

  • the school counselor must complete the school profile form via the Common App, and upload the school profile.

  • all references and transcripts should be uploaded to the Common App by the counselor in teachers, ahead of each student’s first deadline

  • if students are applying Early Decision or Early Action, with deadlines that typically fall in a UK half-term holiday, they must ensure to have completed everything before school goes on holiday. Having an internal deadline of a week or 10 days before the holiday can help to reduce last-minute stress

Spring Term of U6 / Y13

  • in January, schools will have to upload a Mid Year report to the Common App. In most cases, there will be no new information to add, unless the student is significantly exceeding their predicted grades (or the reverse).

Summer Term of U6 / Y13

  • The Common App rolls over to the next application season in August, so for schools whose exam system does not give results until August, you will have to also upload a Final Report in June or July which does not include any new information. Exam results can then be sent on results days in August.