Regardless of where during the year you schedule it, the college application is a bearcat – fraying nerves, straining tempers, and inducing headaches. There is a great deal riding on this presentation of your child’s life. There are an incredible number of moving pieces to keep track of. It is enough to make the bravest among us tremble. One mom compared it to giving birth without anesthesia.
Given that we have no alternatives, as of yet, to the craziness of the college application season, what is a family to do? The best advice I have is to begin early. I honestly recommend June after the junior year to make life manageable. If your student is a senior, we are obviously past that time frame, but still only midway into the application season. There are some October deadlines for scholarships, but for the most part we have a good month or two before most Regular Decision deadlines start to hit. Thus, I would suggest front-loading now. You need to be finishing up your School Documents if you homeschool. Your student should be finishing a college application a week.
You will be amazed at the things that will pop up:
- A school supplement submission will trigger another essay request since the student mentioned they want to go into the engineering program.
- A letter arrives informing you that, even though the published deadline for the honors program is still a month away, if your child wants scholarships or the honors dorm, the additional essays are actually due in one week.
- A recommender who promised to write a letter still hasn’t gotten it done and needs gentle reminding.
- An application was submitted online, but is not showing up in the student’s dashboard.
If your child’s applications and your documents are finished and submitted, these things are an irritating inconvenience, but you will have the bandwidth to deal with them efficiently. If you are in the middle of four school documents and your child still has seven applications to fill out and nine essays to write, these kinds of setbacks are enough to cause a major crisis of time and energy. It is the perfect scenario for a meltdown.
Working early can ensure that all the little things, that are guaranteed to crop up, will stay in their rightful place of inconvenience and not escalate into a screaming crisis.
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