Application Steps

We encourage you to begin these steps before your senior year.

1. Stay Organized!

  • Create a spreadsheet to keep track of each step in the application process
  • Use your phone to set deadline alerts!

2. Create a list of colleges where you intend to apply in "Colleges I'm thinking About" in Naviance.

3. Find out what type of application each college uses.

  • Many colleges use their own online applications. You will register and set up an account in order to apply to each school.
  • Over 1000 colleges use the Common Application which allows students to fill out one application for multiple schools. For more information about the Common Application visit

4. Determine the Application Decision Plan you will use.

Application Decision Plans

Priority (Non-binding)

Colleges use priority deadlines to encourage students to apply early for best consideration in admission, scholarships, Honors College admission and sometimes housing. Common schools that use priority deadlines include:

Early Action (Non-binding)

Students apply early (typically in November) and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular decision response date (typically in December).             

Early Decision (Binding)

Students make a commitment to attend their first-choice school where, if admitted, they will definitely enroll. Students must withdraw all other applications if they are admitted. You must discuss this binding option with your parents, counselor and college counselor. A few colleges offer a second Early Decision deadline called EDII.

Restrictive Early Action, or sometimes called Single-Choice Early Action (Non-binding)

Students apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision early.  They may be restricted from applying ED, EA, or REA to other institutions.  If offered admission, students still have until May 1 to make a final decision on where to enroll. 

Rolling Admissions (Non-binding)

With this option, colleges review the application as soon as it is complete and return an admission decision right away.

Regular Decision (Non-binding)

Students submit an application by a specific date and receive a decision in a clearly stated period of time. Most regular decision deadlines are January 1 or later.

5. Request a transcript and meet with your counselor.

  • You will receive detailed information on how to request transcripts and how to schedule a mandatory meeting with your counselor in August. We will start sending transcripts end of August senior year.

6. If needed, request a teacher letter of recommendation.

  • Check application requirements for each of your colleges to verify you need a letter of recommendation. Most colleges do not require teacher letters, but, if they do, they usually only need one.
  • Ask your teacher in person if he or she would be willing to write a letter on your behalf.
  • Thoughtfully complete the Teacher Letter of Recommendation Survey which is found in the Google Classroom. Your answers will be emailed to your teacher when you submit the form.

7. Order test scores to be sent to each college as requested.

  • If you listed colleges to receive scores when registering for the tests, scores will be sent automatically. Sending to additional colleges requires your action.
  • ACT
    • For ACT tests, students can request that only selected scores be sent, rather than all scores, except for the very few colleges that require you to send all scores.
  • SAT 
    • College Board allows Score Choice (select which scores you want to send to a college) or you can choose to send all scores. Be certain you know testing requirements for each college before you send scores. A few highly-selective colleges require you to send all scores.

8. Financial Aid Forms, Net-Price Calculators

  • For a detailed explanation of college costs, funding and sources, check financial aid resources in the Google Classroom or look at the netprice calculator at each institution.

9. Mid-Year Grade Report in January

  • Colleges may require you to send an additional transcript after the first semester of the senior year. This is especially true for the colleges that use the Common Application, however other colleges may request this information as well, especially if they are waiting to make a decision on your admission based on your academic performance during the fall semester.
  • Required mid-year reports will be processed by your counselor if application was submitted through the Common App. Others will be processed through Parchment requests.

10. Complete your Exit Form in April

  • Libertyville High School collects this information to help future students assess their college opportunities through comparisons and scattergrams, as you did when you were compiling your initial college list. Your personal information remains confidential and only anonymous statistical data is displayed to other users.
  • Completing this form confirms your final transcript will be sent to your selected post-high school institution.