We’ve just passed November 1, the first of several deadlines for college applications. After the stress of this initial push to get Early applications finished, many students are lulled into a sense of complacency. They feel they can wait until the mid-December announcements to begin work on the rest of the college applications should they not be accepted into their first choice school.
The only hitch in this brilliant plan is that they are unaware of time, both how much time things will take and how little time they have.
An Early application normally goes to only 1 or 2 schools. Students should apply to 6-8. If you do the math, you realize quickly that there is still a lot of work left to do. Kids have often completed the main part of their Common Application for this Early deadline and thus feel they have finished the lion’s share of the work. To some degree this is true. But, they are forgetting the remaining 6-8 supplements or other colleges who don’t accept the Common Application and require a whole new presentation. There is just no way this is going to happen quickly.
Added to the time needed for doing a great job on college applications, students are also spending more time with their schoolwork. Classes are getting harder and their extracurricular activities are getting more demanding as the year progresses. Sleep will get increasingly hard to come by. About the time that they learn whether or not they have been accepted Early to their college of choice, they will also be facing finals, Christmas programs, and a host of other activities that will make it difficult to be creative and thoughtful on the remaining applications. Many are postponing the work hoping to do it all over Thanksgiving break or Christmas vacation. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that rarely happens.
The truth of the matter is that most kids will not be accepted Early to the college they dream of.
They will be forced to submit their other applications to their stretch, fit, and safety schools. Those essays, short answer questions, and other things will have to be done. My advice, beginning right now, is to finish a college application a week. Take your time. Make sure it is perfect. Once that is done, move to the next college application and complete it in the following week. A calm and orderly completion will take the pressure off and won’t cramp their busy schedule. There is no need to submit these yet. Just let these applications just sit there until you get the word about whether they have made it in Early. If they are not successful, it is then easy to hit the submit button for the remainder of the colleges.
Even the most brilliant of teenagers are usually still not mature enough to manage their time well. Help them avoid poorly constructed applications, a GPA dip, or a stress-related illness by clearing the schedule, offering support, and showing them how to work methodically toward their goal. Everyone will be happier and your college results will be better!
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