3 Tips to help your students complete college applications on time

Your students will soon be completing their college applications for the 2018/2019 school year. If they are still procrastinating to get their applications completed and submitted here are 3 tips that can help them from U.S. News and World Report:

  1. Analyze the source of the delay:

    First, consider the reasons why they are  behind schedule. Procrastination is an easy response, but it is more of a description than an answer.

     Research suggests that procrastination is rooted in fear more so than in laziness, so the first step is to seriously evaluate their feelings about college. Are they afraid of change, leaving home, not thriving in a competitive environment or missing their high school friends?

    These fears are perfectly normal – and many students face them during their transition to college. However, fear should not hold them back.

    They may also be worried about a portion of the application process. Maybe they aren’t certain they have chosen the right schools, or maybe they are worried that their personal statement will be terrible.

    Or maybe they are just short on time. Take a moment to reflect on how important college is to their future. Imagine finding themselves at home when their friends leave for college next year – use that feeling as motivation to make time for completing the applications.

    Once they have defined the issues that are holding them back, begin looking for solutions. Millions of students make it through this process – they can too.

    If they are  nervous about their prospective schools not being the right fit, consider taking another campus visit if they are able to or seeing if they can connect with a current student online – through school forums or social media – to get a personal perspective of the school.

    If they are concerned about the strength of their personal statement, ask a parent, teacher or other trusted adult to review the essay for them and give honest feedback on areas they can improve to make it truly stand out.

  2. Prioritize their remaining tasks: 

    Take stock of other tasks, including family obligations, school projects, volunteer work and college applications. Which tasks are optional and which are essential?

    For example, maybe your student planned to retake the ACT or SAT or to take an SAT subject test. If their standardized test scores are in an acceptable range or the schools on their short list do not require the subject exam, consider spending time instead on the essential components of their applications, such as the personal statement or letters or recommendation.

    [Discover what makes a strong application essay.]

    They can still gain entry to a great school with a wide range of ACT and SAT scores or without the SAT subject test. Higher scores typically strengthen an application, but an excellent personal statement will carry more weight than an extra 10 points on the SAT.

    Look for tasks they can delay in other areas too. For instance, can they work fewer hours at a part-time job to make more time for their applications? Or can they temporarily hand off some student leadership tasks to others?

    Don’t damage  personal relationships or shirk important duties. But do find ways to focus on their critical responsibilities, including completing their applications.

    3. Create a detailed schedule:

    Once they have a to-do list of pressing tasks, lay out their path to completion. Start by estimating how much time they will need for each task. Keep in mind that almost everything takes longer than anticipated.

     When deciding which tasks to focus on first, choose those that require input from others. Letters of recommendation, essays that require editing and admissions interviews should all be high on their list.

    Set aggressive goals with weekly targets. If they have five weeks remaining until the application deadline, plan out their tasks in five one-week sets. Get parents and teachers involved. They should ask them to hold them accountable for meeting  weekly goals.

    With some careful planning, their college applications will begin to come together. They should be confident, kind and honest– and get to work on getting into college.

    This blog came from U.S. News & World Report which has a lot of great content for Counselors and Students on their site. Here is a link: https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/2016-10-17/3-tips-to-complete-college-applications-on-time