Preparing to Apply
College Application Checklists
Worried you might miss something? These checklists will help you keep organized. Find the one that works best for you.
- ACT College Planning Checklist
- My Future College Planning Timeline
- Parent Action Plan: Middle School
- College Planning: 9th/10th Grade
- College Planning: 11th Grade
- College Application Timeline: 12th Grade
Letters of Recommendation
Employers and colleges often ask for two or three recommendation letters from people who know you well. These letters should be written by someone who can describe your skills, accomplishments and personality. See your school counselor for a brag sheet to provide to people writing your letters. It is common courtesy to give your recommender at least two weeks (or more) to write a strong letter for you.
Most colleges require a personal statement or essay as a part of your application. There are a variety of helpful websites offering guidance on how to write a college essay.
The College Essay Guy offers many free resources to support you along the way (Disclaimer: MMSD does not endorse The College Guy paid services).
College Xpress offers helpful recommendations for students regarding How to Write a Great College Essay.
Common Application Essay Prompts - These are released several months before the fall application season to give students plenty of time to prepare.
Requesting a Transcript
How Do I Order a Copy of My Transcript?
Transcripts may be ordered at Parchment.com by Madison Metropolitan School District graduates, guardians of students, and by current students (who are over the age of 18). This electronic service allows you to order transcripts online at any time and track the status of the transcripts that you have requested to be sent. Consult with your counselor determine if you qualify for a fee waiver.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Transcript for Personal Use?
Current Students and their families may download and print a copy of a transcript from Infinite Campus for personal use.
Personal transcripts are not considered official and will not be accepted for admission purposes to colleges and universities, the Common Application, or the NCAA. Most athletic offices, employers, and some scholarship applications will accept a printed copy of the personal transcript.
Transcripts needed for scholarship purposes are free. In order to request an official transcript for scholarship purposes, please contact your counselor.
Sending ACT/SAT Scores
How do I send my ACT scores?
When registering for the ACT students are able to select up to four schools to send their score to for free. To send scores to a school after you've taken the ACT, follow these instructions. Fee waivers are available for those that qualify (see your school counselor for more information).
All colleges provide links to their applications online. Below are the most common links MMSD students use.
The Common Application
The Common Application is a college application that is used to help prospective college students apply to multiple institutions at once. Students can create a Common Application account to apply for the institutions of their choice. The Common Application is a not-for-profit, member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process.
The UW Systems Application
Students interested in applying for a University of Wisconsin System college may apply online. Applications are typically available August 1 of each year. It may be helpful to visit the UW System Admission Path website for directions on how to apply. School counselors are available to help students navigate the college application process.
Students wishing to attend Madison College can apply online via the Madison College Application process. School counselors are an excellent resource if students or families have questions about attending Madison College and are interested in additional opportunities regarding learning about this option.
Common Black College Application
The Common Black College Application (CBCA) is a similar process with some key features. Whereas most of the time you pay application fees to each college you submit an application to, the Common Black College App allows you to apply to all 53 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) who are members of the service for a one-time application fee of $35