How to finish your application documents on time
Certainly one of my colleagues at College Coach sent an email to our admissions team today. “Six weeks until Nov 1! ” it said. I had developed to check my calendar just to be certain. Yep, she was right. Six weeks until the first big deadlines from the student admissions cycle . Six weeks till those precious ED applications would be shipped off to my students’ best choice colleges with personal statements perfected, activities lists completed, plus supplements fully executed. Six weeks till we could all pause and inhale a heavy sigh of relief plus either begin the anxious await decisions or take a well-deserved rest before diving back in to more applications.
I like to motivate all of my students to treat Nov 1 as a “soft” deadline. Whether you plan to apply Early Decision or EA, it’s helpful to give yourself an endpoint to aim for—an endpoint that ensures your own supplemental essays don’t hang more than your Thanksgiving dinner like a darkish cloud. The holidays are a time to become enjoyed, and with finals just around the corner, a person won’t want to put off your admissions work for too long. If you’ve already built your college list and organized yourself with a spreadsheet , now is the time to start to create a good essay schedule.
Start with the big picture
Check out all of the supplemental prompts you need to write for the colleges on your list. Exist questions that are so similar that you could write the same essay for two various schools? Stanford and Rice both ask students to “briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences, ” and they both give you 150 words with which to do it. There’s no reason for you to write two essays here; one can suffice. The University of Washington, a school that does not use the Typical Application, asks students to post a 650-word personal statement. Are you able to submit the essay you’ve currently written for your Common App? Certainly! Check that essay off the list.
Be cautious, however , that you are not overdoing it. The “Why Barnard? ” and “Why Birkenstock boston University? ” essays are both worded similarly, but the two schools are very different and the content of the documents should be, too. Colleges can see if you have simply changed the name in a “Why X College? ” essay, and may take it personally. While the framework of the “Why X College? ” article can be similar for similar sorts of schools, be sure your school-specific documents are exactly that: school particular. In order to avoid common mistakes in re-using essay content, I recommend that you decide which essays can be answered with the same content before you get started. That way a person won’t use this strategy as a last-minute time saver with deadlines breathing down your neck.
Start with your priorities
Now that you know how many essays you need to write, it’s time to get started. Begin with the schools at the very top of your list. You want to be able to put your full-time and energy into your top choices, so saving them for the end—like an application dessert—is not all that smart. Your ED school should come first; your EA schools can come next. For those schools with later deadlines, write your supplements within the order of importance to you, while furthermore taking account of the likelihood you’ll receive an offer of admission. This serves a twofold benefit. Very first, it ensures that you’re writing along with vigor for the schools you care most about where you’ve got a good shot at being admitted; second, it may keep you from making the option to apply to a school “just to find out if you can get in. ” If mid-December arrives and you have yet to begin your own University of Chicago supplement, odds are good that you’ll decide to axe it from the list unless it matters to you (in which situation you should have started it much previously! ).
Make progress twice a week, every week
One of my colleagues asks her students to submit essays to her twice a week during the busy a few months of September and October. Every single Wednesday, one pair of supplements is due; every Sunday, it’s another pair of supplements. By having two due schedules each week, she ensures that students make constant progress on their work. Regarding students working without counseling, you are able to still use the same deadlines. Create two supplements for Wednesday, after that put them aside and write the next two for Sunday. After Weekend, return back to the first two dietary supplements and make any necessary changes; if you complete one supplement, start another.
The idea here is to get in the rhythm of writing your own essays alongside your school work plus extracurricular obligations. Grab a calendar and pencil in each of the dietary supplements on the days you hope to have them done, including the number of revisions you expect to need. By giving yourself normal deadlines, you can ensure that you’re propelling yourself through the process with function completed each and every week. And with Nov 1 just six weeks away, spending so much time every week is what will save your state of mind later on.
Ian Fisher is a member of College Coach’s team of university admissions experts . Ian obtained his master’s in policy, organization, and leadership studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Just before joining College Coach, Ian worked well as a senior admissions officer in Reed College.