Application Procrastination? What to Do about It

A couple weeks ago, we passed through the November 1 ED/EA deadlines at many colleges. Now, we're looking at the traditional January 1 Regular Decision deadlines. Granted, there are variations in those deadlines. Some ED II deadlines fall after the first of the year and, of course, rolling-admission schools' deadlines fall at various times of the year.

My point here is that high school senior applicants around the world know about these deadlines and deal with them according to their personalities and local circumstances. The more obsessive applicants (or those with authoritarian-obsessive parents) have their applications (and essays) finished well ahead of time. Others, those that manage their admissions process more or less autonomously and who are motivated at the last second by deadlines, may be pulling October/December 31 all-nighters to get things done.

I recall one New Year's Eve when I was going back and forth real time with a client half a continent away, editing application essays on the fly for her Yale application. I even missed the ball drop in Times Square. She resided in a time zone an hour behind mine, so that extra hour before the midnight deadline gave her “procrastinator's license," I presume. Good thing I wasn't celebrating with champagne.

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