When a college lists an Early Action or Early Decision deadline, that date is the date by which students must submit their application. In some cases, schools want to receive teacher and counselor recommendations, transcripts and test scores by that date as well. BUT IN MOST CASES, colleges do not mind if these things come in after the EA/ED deadline (In fact, I can only think of two schools that fall into the first category).
So if you submit an application and then receive an e-mail from the college with login information to their portal, you should set up an account.
But if you login and see that a recommendation, transcript, secondary school report (we call this the School Profile) or test scores are missing, PLEASE DO NOT FREAK OUT AND SCREAM AT YOUR TEACHERS OR COUNSELORS. It’s OK if recommendations and transcripts come in after the EA/ED deadline. This is the point at which you have to let them do their work and not bug them daily (especially if they have told you they have submitted or are working on it!). We promise, PROMISE you that things will get where they are supposed to go.
As long as you have REQUESTED teacher and counselor recs, told your counselor where you are applying, you have done everything right!
As a reminder, you must send your own test scores, either from College Board (SAT) or the ACT directly, to each college on your list (except for UCs/CSUs – for more info on that, check out the tweets in this post).
Please note that even if transcripts and recommendations are submitted electronically, there is still some human interaction involved in matching them with your application file, and this takes time. Things don’t happen instantly (unfortunately!)! Colleges are processing A LOT of paperwork at this point, so please just give the process some time to work.
We tell our clients that we’ll tell them when it’s time to freak out. We’re not there yet! Take a deep breath! Everything is going to be ok.