Are We Already Late to the Application Party?

Question: In the supermarket the other night, I ran into two parents of students in my daughter’s senior class at our local public high school. The first told me that his daughter has honed in on her top-choice colleges and is busy completing applications. The second one said that her son has submitted all of his applications and has already been admitted to two universities. These conversations made me very nervous. My daughter has not finalized her college list. She’d planned to apply Early Action to two colleges this week but then felt stressed and not at all ready. Other than filling out her name and some basic information on the Common Application, she’s done nothing. (Her English teacher is working on college essays with the class, so hopefully she’ll have a final draft of at least one essay soon.) I told her that she can catch her breath and apply Regular Decision. But on the way home from the market, I began to panic, thinking that we’re far behind the curve. Are we?

From the first time a baby rolls over (or doesn’t), parents can’t help but compare notes with other parents and may sometimes wonder if their own child lags behind. The college process is much like rolling over … or like walking, talking, and cutting teeth … only more stressful. Kids are not all on the same schedule but, unfortunately, this time there aredeadlines. So as long as your daughter meets them, she’s doing fine. But what can you do to ease the angst (at least a bit) and squelch your fear that your daughter is late to the application party? Here are a few tips:

– Set up some “faux deadlines” in order to avoid last-minute all-nighters and the terror caused by tech snafus when the clock ticks toward midnight (while the computer screen freezes) on the real deadline day. In other words, you might want to work with your daughter to establish dates by which each of her applications must be finished … a week or more in advance of the actual deadline. Even if her college list is still a work in progress, she can concentrate on applying to whatever schools are on it now.

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