Application Procedures and Guidelines

While the ownership of the college search and application process predominantly rests with students and their families, EnvisionPrep Counselors support students and families throughout their school years in a variety of ways:

  1. The EnvisionPrep counselors will meet with students on an individual basis beginning in the winter of the junior year and will continue working with them throughout the senior year as they identify, apply to, and decide to attend the college of their choice. 
  2. The EnvisionPrep counselor will require every student to bring in his or her applications in order to check for errors and omissions and for final review.  He/she will also provide feedback for application essays. However, please note that all material submitted by the student to a college should be his or her own story. It is the student’s responsibility to then make a copy of the application and mail it to the college with the appropriate application fee attached.
  3. Most college counselors from your school will complete a Secondary School Report for each student’s application. Please confirm the details with your college counselor.

Deadlines and Mailing

Students have two choices in how their applications should be sent to colleges:

  • Most College Counseling Offices in US High schools are happy to mail the application with student transcripts and supporting documents for all ED and EA applications submitted two weeks in advance of the deadline.
  • Students should feel free to mail/submit their own applications if they decide they need more time to complete the application over the vacation. Given the January 1st and 15th regular decision deadlines, the holiday crunch, and volume of applications that need processing in a limited amount of time, it’s important for the college office to hold fast to this deadline.

Applying Online

Online applications have grown in recent years, and now 90% of all applications are submitted electronically. We see no reason not to take advantage of the technology and it does streamline the process for colleges and it avoids potential data entry errors. However, treat this application as you would any other. Print it out first, proofread, send your ID/PW to your EnvisionPrep counselor for double check, and make sure it is as good as it can be. Remember, this application is not an e-mail or an IM-treat it with respect.  Also, make sure you get a confirmation after you’ve hit the “send” button. Save all work, and make copies!


Student Responsibilities

Complete applications in a timely manner and send drafts to your EnvisionPrep counselor as early as possible. It is important that the final application is clean and free of errors – neatness does count – so starting early makes sense. Remember that the fall is a busy time; allow enough lead time to complete the forms and allow enough time for the counselor to go over it. For example, if the student has a Nov 1st application deadline, it would be unwise to wait until Halloween to complete the application. Even if the counselor has enough time to read and correct it, the student will have to scramble to mail it on time. We encourage students to bring us drafts of their applications with enough time for us to review it thoughtfully.

Make a copy of your application, sign it in blue or black ink, and include a check or money order for the required application fee. It’s important to do this for obvious reasons, but also because the canceled check acts as proof that the college received your application. 

Applications Fees

Please make sure that you send the correct application fee to the proper school. We have had cases in the past where the check for Boston College ends up with the check for Boston University. Checks or money orders should be signed and dated properly and attached to the application itself.

Fee waivers are available for those families that qualify. You should ask your college counselor for details. In addition, some schools will waive the application fee if you apply online.

Teacher Recommendations

Whom to ask:  Just about every school will require at least one teacher recommendation. Often a college will ask for a recommendation from the instructor of one of your core academic subjects (ie: English, math, history, science, or foreign language) or the school may ask for a recommendation from teachers of specific subjects.

If the college has no preference, we would encourage you to ask for a recommendation from one of those core-subject teachers in the 11th and 12th grade in whose class you have been successful. You may also want to ask an employer, coach, scout master, or other adult mentor for a letter to support your efforts outside the classroom. Three recommendations are fine, but any more than that may be overkill.

How to ask:  You should always ask your teachers in person for a recommendation and give the teachers the reasons why you think he or she would be a good person to write that letter for you. For example: you did well in the course, you worked together on a pretty difficult lab, you spent a week together on a Habitat trip, etc.

What to give to the teacher:  Most College Counselors will make available folders for you to give to your recommending teachers. In this folder you should provide the following information:
  1. your name
  2. courses taken with that teacher
  3. a list of schools to which the teacher should send the recommendation, and the deadline
  4. the teacher recommendation form with your information already filled out
  5. stamped envelopes with the address of your schools
  6. a note of thanks

What the teacher will do:  Expect that the teacher will send the recommendation directly to the colleges, so you should provide him or her with stamped, addressed envelopes with due dates clearly indicated (writing the due date on the back of the envelope in pencil is a good method). Some teachers might rather give their recommendations to the college office, and if this is the case, please indicate this on the green sheet, so that we know to add this letter when we send your transcript and other supporting materials.

When to remind:  Teachers should be given at least three weeks’ notice, if not longer, to write and send your letters. Reminders to each teacher as deadlines approach are appropriate, and often appreciated.  

If your teacher is unable to provide you with with English content, please contact your EnvisionPrep counselor as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Data entry and input in college admissions offices is usually very good. However, there are instances every year when letters and other documents either get misplaced or filed late. When this happens, you may get a letter that tells you material has not been sent. If you should get a letter like this from a college, do not panic. There are numbers of reasons why this is the case; usually the items in question cross in the mail or the data entry are a week or two behind. In any case, as long as your part of the application and the admissions fee were received on time, colleges are very flexible in terms of receiving all other supporting material.

Sending Additional Information

Where appropriate, and when not submitted directly with your application, provide your College Counselors with writing samples, portfolios (in slide form), and other materials that can accompany, and enhance, applications. Please provide appropriate mailing envelopes in the case of videos, CDs, and extended art portfolios. We encourage each student to have a strong, graded writing sample available as part of his or her academic portfolio. This should be given to the college counselor to review and save.