Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Applying for college? Don't wait

The University of South Florida talks with prospective applicants and their families at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. Sheila Nenna, left, and her daughter, Ashley, who hopes to go there, tour USF’s campus in Tampa.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times

The University of South Florida talks with prospective applicants and their families at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. Sheila Nenna, left, and her daughter, Ashley, who hopes to go there, tour USF’s campus in Tampa.

There's a saying in college admissions. "If you smell the turkey in the oven, your college applications ought to be in before you sit down at the table," says Robert Spatig, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of South Florida. So it's getting late. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Application deadlines

• USF (usfweb2.usf.edu/admissions) — USF has rolling admissions, meaning it reviews applications as they come in and makes decisions throughout the admission cycle. Priority deadline for those seeking merit scholarships is Jan. 2. After March 1, it will consider applications on a space-available basis. So sooner is better.

• University of Florida (admissions.ufl.edu) — The preferred application deadline has passed. Applications submitted by March 1 will be considered on a space-available basis.

• Florida State University (admissions.fsu.edu) — Jan. 20, with decision sent by March 17.

• University of Central Florida (ucf.edu/admissions) — UCF has rolling admissions and recommends applying by December of your senior year. Deadlines are March 1 for summer, May 1 for fall.

• University of Tampa (ut.edu/freshman) — Early action: Nov. 15 (notifications out by Dec. 15) or Jan. 15 (notifications out by Feb. 15). For applications completed after Jan. 15, notifications go out by April 1.

• Eckerd College (eckerd.edu/admissions) — Eckerd has rolling admissions, with the bulk of applications coming by Feb. 15. Once an application is complete, a decision is made within four weeks.

Do

Apply early. This can give you time to submit new, better test scores.

Submit your application and keep in touch with the college yourself. Letting a parent do too much raises questions.

Proofread carefully. Admissions officers "get a little turned off when the essay says, 'I think I'll do really well at the University of Delaware,' " says UT vice president of enrollment management Dennis Nostrand.

Go to fafsa.ed.gov as soon as possible after Jan. 1 and complete the free application for federal student aid. (You can use your family's tax return from last year to get the FAFSA in and update it later.) Do this even if you don't expect to qualify for aid, just in case a parent loses a job. And learn your schools' deadlines for the financial aid they offer. (At USF, for example, it's March 1.) Apply early for that, too.

Don't

Forget to have test scores sent where you apply. Talk to your guidance counselor to make sure your transcripts are sent, too.

Pay to apply for a scholarship or to search for scholarships. "There are lots of scams out there," Spatig says. (The College Scholarship Service financial aid profile, which is legitimate and used by private schools, does charge a processing fee.)

Fail to include enough information in your application. If you had a weak year, explain why. "It's always important for us to understand the whole experience a student had," says Maria Furtado, Eckerd's director of admission.

Slack off after you get in. If you do, many universities will rescind their offers of admission. "The student who tanks in their senior year is most at risk of failing out in their freshman year," Spatig said.

Online resources

collegeboard.com — Comprehensive information on the SAT, as well as finding, applying and paying for college.

fastweb.com — Good scholarship search site.

collegeconfidential.com — Lots of articles and other resources, plus students dish here. Chatty, but consider the source.

nacacnet.org — Click on the "Student Resources" tab for month-by-month to-do lists.

Applying for college? Don't wait 11/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2009 12:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Plan your weekend Aug. 18-20: Elvis in concert, Jason Aldean, Monster Jam Triple Threat, Sing-Along Grease

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    The king

    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. Graceland calls it the closest audiences …

    Handout photos of Elvis: Live in Concert, a tour spectacle featuring a live orchestra backing the voice of Elvis Presley, projected onto a movie screen. The tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on 8/18/17. Credit: Graceland.
  2. Woman convicted in murder of 18-year-old with cerebral palsy gets lighter term

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Linda Bonck, a 90-pound Chamberlain High School senior with cerebral palsy, lived near Tampa's Lowry Park. She struggled to walk and talk but was known for being friendly and trusting of strangers until she vanished one day in 1992.

    Georgia Miller, 39, was convicted for the 1992 murder of Linda Bonck, an 18-year-old Chamberlain High School student who had cerebral palsy. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Miller was resentenced Wednesday to 65 years, the result of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions that found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life. With gain time, Miller will be released from prison in the next six years. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Boynton Beach woman arrested on DUI, child abuse charges

    Criminal

    A Boynton Beach woman was arrested Saturday and faces DUI and child abuse charges after she blew a .200 on a breath test with an unbuckled child in the backseat, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

    Brandy Lerma, 31 of Boynton Beach, was arrested on DUI and child abuse charges on Saturday. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Editorial: Why can't Hillsborough commissioners move Confederate monument?

    Editorials

    The violence in Charlottesville, Va., crystallized for much of the nation the danger of refusing to address painful symbols of the past. But not so in Hillsborough County, where the County Commission on Wednesday reversed itself yet again and left open the possibility of leaving a Confederate monument outside the …

  5. Former WTSP employee sues station's parent companies for gender discrimination

    Civil

    A former director at WTSP-Ch. 10 has sued the station's parent companies, claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination.