Every Successful Regular Admissions Strategy Has This
On Halloween, the streets fill with throngs of people in costume. It’s lovely to hear the cheerful laughter of the many men, women, and children in the streets. But to me, Halloween is also a remind that the end of the year is approaching, as Early Admissions applications are sent and preparation for Regular Admissions begins in earnest. Early Admissions applicants may be curious about their odds of being accepted to the college of their choice, but this is not the time to sit around—it’s a straight dash to the deadline from here.
In this period, Early Admissions applicants are actually in the most precarious position. There are those who barely made the November 1st deadline; then there are those who toiled for months, perhaps years, to get into their Dream College in capital letters. However, something that these two groups have in common is that they become sluggish about getting ready for the more arduous Regular Admissions. This makes sense. While the senior is just getting adjusted to her new classes, she pours much of her energy into also applying early to her favorite college. By the end of it, many students burn out. It’s especially at this time that parents can directly or indirectly be a positive influence that prevents their children from becoming even more passive. For example, not all application deadlines are on December 21st or January 1st—it’s important to become familiar with all the different deadlines and begin by prioritizing colleges for which the deadline is December 1st and colleges that implement Rolling Admissions. The decisions for Early Admissions applications are sent out mid-December. The trade-off for waiting for the Early Admissions decision without preparing for Regular Admissions is too great in the case of rejection.
Whether the student applied early or is only applying regularly, making steady and constant progress toward Regular Admissions is the best overall use of time in the month of November.
There are a variety of considerations when preparing for Regular Admissions. Of course, there is preparing for the Common Application, but there is also applying for Financial Aid, deciding whether or not to retake the SAT, ACT, or any of the SAT Subject Tests, scheduling and selecting how to report all these scores including AP exams, asking for recommendations, and preparing for Early Admissions interviews that may be happening at the same time. All this needs to be done and done well.
Let’s zoom in. If a student is applying for Financial Aid, she must also prepare her FAFSA and CSS profile. However, unlike the actual college application, her parents can prepare these in her stead. Therefore, parents should assess their financial situation and decide whether their child should apply and help with the process. It’s also important for the student to decide as soon as possible whether to retake the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Test if she isn’t satisfied with her score. Recommendations are a very important wild card for a college applicant. It’s important for her to ask teachers she knows best in advance for recommendations, and to communicate and strive to maintain strong relationships with them to get the best recommendations possible. If she applied for Early Admissions, interviews are normally scheduled before (and in rare occasions, not long after) Thanksgiving—she must prepare for this as well.
Because students have to prepare for such a wide variety of tasks within a mere one or two months, effective time management is key. The most ideal situation is dream-like synergistic teamwork between student and parent, but even if this is not the case, employing an expert for guidance can help focus the student’s energies toward what matters.
Though Halloween almost feels like it kicks off November, at the end of the month is Thanksgiving. As nutritious and bountiful dish after dish fills the table, I also hope that students can fill their application piece by piece, achieving balance along the way. Next month, I will introduce the concept of positioning, which will continue the conversation about what balancing an application means and how to give a college application direction.
Like they say: it’s not over ‘til it’s over.
2018 Mom & I 9/10 Vol. 11
Written By Jason Lee