Information on Community College
Information on CSU's and UC's
3 Tips to Complete College Applications On Time
"By now, prospective college students should have their applications well under way, especially if they are planning to apply early decision or early action. However, if you're struggling to finish, don't panic. Instead, take a moment to reflect on the situation, and then create a plan to successfully complete your applications.
De-stress your teen’s college admissions process with tips from our free newsletter.
Here are three practical suggestions to help you get your college applications on track.
1. Analyze the source of your delay:
First, consider the reasons why you're behind schedule. Procrastination is an easy response, but it is more of a description than an answer.
Research suggests that procrastination is rooted in fear more so than in laziness, so your first step is to seriously evaluate your feelings about college. Are you afraid of change, leaving your home, not thriving in a competitive environment or missing your high school friends?
These fears are perfectly normal – and many students face them during their transition to college. However, you cannot allow fear to hold you back.
You may also be worried about a portion of the application process. Maybe you aren't certain you have chosen the right schools, or maybe you're worried that your personal statement will be terrible.
Or maybe you are just short on time. Take a moment to reflect on how important college is to your future. Imagine finding yourself at home when your friends leave for college next year – use that feeling as motivation to make time for completing the applications.
Once you have defined the issues that are holding you back, begin looking for solutions. Millions of students make it through this process – you can too.
If you’re nervous about your prospective schools not being the right fit, consider taking another campus visit if you are able or seeing if you can connect with a current student online – through school forums or social media – to get a personal perspective of the school.
If you’re concerned about the strength of your personal statement, ask a parent, teacher or other trusted adult to review the essay for you and give honest feedback on areas you can improve to make it truly stand out.
2. Prioritize your remaining tasks:
Take stock of your other tasks, including family obligations, school projects, volunteer work and college applications. Which tasks are optional and which are essential?
For example, maybe you planned to retake the ACT or SAT or to take an SAT subject test. If your standardized test scores are in an acceptable range or the schools on your short list do not require the subject exam, consider spending time instead on the essential components of your applications, such as the personal statement or letters or recommendation.
[Discover what makes a strong application essay.]
You can still gain entry to a great school with a wide range of ACT and SAT scores or without the SAT subject test. Higher scores typically strengthen an application, but an excellent personal statement will carry more weight than an extra 10 points on the SAT.
Look for tasks you can delay in other areas too. For instance, can you work fewer hours at a part-time job to make more time for your applications? Or can you temporarily hand off some student leadership tasks to others?
Don't damage your personal relationships or shirk important duties. But do find ways to focus on your critical responsibilities, including completing your applications.
3. Create a detailed schedule:
Once you have a to-do list of pressing tasks, lay out your path to completion. Start by estimating how much time you will need for each task. Keep in mind that almost everything takes longer than you anticipate.
When deciding which tasks to focus on first, choose those that require input from others. Letters of recommendation, essays that require editing and admissions interviews should all be high on your list.
[Learn how to strategize first for a smooth college admissions process.]
Set aggressive goals with weekly targets. If you have five weeks remaining until the application deadline, plan out your tasks in five one-week sets. Get your parents and teachers involved. Ask them to hold you accountable for meeting your weekly goals.
With some careful planning, your college applications will begin to come together. Be confident, kind and honest with yourself – and get to work on getting into college."