To demonstrate the sequential nature of the college application process, in this paper I analyze the evolution of applications among high-achieving low-income students through data on the exact timing of SAT score sends. I describe at what point students send scores to colleges and which score sends ultimately become applications, resulting in three main points. First, score sends are not synonymous with applications—rather, only 62 percent of score sends in this sample turn into applications. Second, the conversion from score send to application is nonrandom as it relates to college characteristics: Score sends are more likely to convert into applications when they are to colleges with lower tuition, higher graduation rates, and relatively near a student's home. Third, the timing of score sends is related to the probability of its becoming an application, whereby score sends sent relatively early are least likely to become applications. These facts imply that there is room for improvement when modeling the application process and, in addition, the timing of an intervention or policy may be critical to its success.

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