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College Talk Blog

College application process

When is it over?

Few processes rival the length of the college process. It begins in grade 8 with credits that count toward high school GPA, continues in grade 10 and 11 with PSAT and concludes in grades 11 and 12 with the application and enrollment process. The executive skills used in the application process will be needed the entire time students are in college.

Done right, the college process can be full of positive surprises including scholarships, internships, amazing personal and professional growth and a wonderful career.

Don't look now rising seniors...there is a monster behind you

If most rising high school seniors turn around right now and look carefully, they will see the faint outline of a huge workload monster lurking behind them. The monster is the avalanche of college admission work they need to accomplish before mid-October.

Mid-October you say? How could that be? Aren't college applications due in December or January? Some are, but if the student at your house is going to apply early, deadlines are more in the October/November range.

Sadly, the college work could affect high school senior fall grades that figure into admission decisions.

All Hallow's Eve Application Fright Fest

In scary movies, when the characters least expect it, they become terrified by a frightening thought, vision or threat. That's the experience of some high school seniors this week. While they were busy with classes, jobs, activities and trying to bask in the glory of senior-dom, a sinister deadline was coiling its tentacles around their necks. 

While some of their friends escaped the terror by working on college application escape plans last August, many began to feel the looming deadline tighten around them this week and realized they had to move fast to survive.

Hit the "SEND" button yet?

Students get a well-deserved sense of accomplishment every time they complete a college application. Hitting the "SEND" button marks the end of question completion, proof reading, essay uploading, paying a fee and wondering what some of the questions meant or if an essay was good enough or whether waiting until regular decision would have been a better choice. Hitting SEND means the student can move on...to the next application for admission or scholarships.

Too many students procrastinate when it comes to college applications.

Test optional? Essay optional? Application optional?

The word optional is appearing more and more in relation to college admission applications. Although there are colleges that are test optional, test optional often comes with strings like a mandatory gpa level. Although there are essay optional colleges, I don't think it is a good idea to give up the chance to tell a college why they should accept your application and give you money.

Colleges have stopped short of going application optional. There is something called an alternate or special application that is shorter and often requires no application fee.