OK, procrastinators, you know who you are. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe right now, you’re protesting that label, crying out self-righteously, “I’m not a procrastinator! I just don’t have any time!” I’ve uttered those very words myself, so I’m onto you.
I’ve learned that procrastination can be tamed. One way to do this is to complete any new, short, mildly annoying task (like a phone call or a thank-you note) right now and get it out of the way. Another way is to visualize the unpleasant, “I want to kick myself” consequences of putting off a task such as, I don’t know, maybe the college application process, ’til the last minute.
Let’s work on that second one, so that you actually want to get your college applications done now. This week. Yes, I’m serious. You can do it.
Just envision New Year’s Eve, and going out with friends. Or, maybe you like to celebrate quietly at home. Either way, if you procrastinate, you will not be enjoying New Year’s Eve. That’s because, with a multitude of college application deadlines on Jan. 1, you just might be spending New Year’s Eve alternately sobbing and typing frantically on your computer. You might realize that you needed an extra letter of recommendation from a teacher for one special college — and your teacher is right now at her own New Year’s Eve party, completely unreachable.
It’s not only possible to enjoy New Year’s Eve as a high school senior, but to enjoy all the holidays. Imagine sitting down at the Thanksgiving table knowing that your college applications are as done as that roasted turkey on your plate, and that December is going to be about the other things in your life. No last-minute frantic meetings with your guidance counselor. No begging for recommendations from teachers already swamped by all the other procrastinating students. No nagging parents. No sudden, awful realizations of what’s missing from your application after school is closed for the holidays.
And, you can actually enjoy winter break. That’s golden.
OK, now, what if you applied to your top-choice school early decision, and cannot apply to other colleges until you hear from your first-choice school? This does mean that you might be sending off applications in mid-December if you don’t get into your top choice, but you can still be completely ready to go with these by mid-November. For your second-choice schools, finish your application, including any essays, and have it ready to be submitted; and make sure that your recommendations and transcript are ready to be sent as soon as you hear from your early-decision school. And, of course, if you are accepted to your early-decision school, no problem! You’re done.
I can think of just one more reason you might want to get your applications done in November. My prices for essay consulting (and the rates for many college admissions consultants) double between Dec. 15 and Jan. 4! Yeah, we like to relax over the holidays, too. 🙂 So, please — get those applications done early, and your winter break really will be what it’s supposed to be: a break.