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Midyear reports can tip the scales

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Not long ago, the Common Application posted a Facebook reminder to students and counselors that midyear reports should be submitted to colleges as soon as first semester/trimester grades are available.

Not every college requires this document. But for those that do, the midyear report can sometimes tip the scales in admissions.

With the surge in applications submitted this year and the relative comparability of credentials among applicants, the midyear report is taking on greater importance. It’s no longer a “pro forma” document simply to be filed after admissions decisions are made.

For example, a student whose grades at the end of junior year fell just shy of what a college expects can show improvement or document an extension of an upward incline begun earlier in the high school career. An added boost in GPA might also help with scholarship dollars for schools using a grade factor for allocating merit money.

Most midyear reports also provide counselors with the opportunity to bring colleges up-to-date on additional achievements, scores, or distinctions since the original application was filed. Be sure to let your counselor know if there’s anything worth reporting to the schools receiving these reports and ask that the information be included along with grades on the document forwarded to your colleges.

Note that the midyear report can be an important “marketing” opportunity for your counselor to support your candidacy. Incomplete or late documents add little or nothing.

On the downside, students who have dropped classes or succumbed to a mean case of senioritis risk being revealed on the midyear report. It’s no secret that colleges take a dim view of students who slip during their senior year, and major changes in academic performance or behavior can have unfortunate results.

Neither the Common App nor the Universal College Application (UCA) sends reminders about midyear reports. It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of this requirement and to ensure the counselor is aware of it.

For Common App colleges, you can check to see if a midyear report is required by clicking the name of the institution in the online requirements grid. Specifically review the “School Forms Required” section for an indication of whether the report is required.

The UCA specifies which schools require a midyear report in several places. You can click on any of the Member Colleges and a complete list of requirements including forms will appear or you can go to your personal “Checklist” and access the information by clicking on “School Forms.” The UCA even provides you with the ability to remind your counselor to send a midyear report by clicking a request button.

For colleges using neither the Common App nor the UCA, you will have to research the requirement on individual websites. Georgetown, for example, required its own midyear report to be submitted no later than February 10, 2014.

According to the Common Application requirements grid, American, Catholic, George Washington, UVa, Christopher Newport University, Goucher, the College of William & Mary, Mary Washington, University of Richmond, and Johns Hopkins require midyear reports. Towson, UMBC, Salisbury, and McDaniel do not.

Note that many high schools have policies requiring that midyear reports be sent to all colleges receiving transcripts in the admissions process—whether you (or the institution) want them to or not!

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