Start college applications early

Put some time and effort into your academic future in summer and you’ll be a — happy senior!

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Start college applications early

Doing college applications during the summer isn’t exactly desirable, it’s much, much better than scrambling to finish it in the little pockets of free time you have when school starts.

Doing college applications during the summer isn’t exactly desirable, it’s much, much better than scrambling to finish it in the little pockets of free time you have when school starts.

David Winter

Doing college applications during the summer isn’t exactly desirable, it’s much, much better than scrambling to finish it in the little pockets of free time you have when school starts.

David Winter

David Winter

Doing college applications during the summer isn’t exactly desirable, it’s much, much better than scrambling to finish it in the little pockets of free time you have when school starts.

Shield editorial board

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Nov. 1. A day of fear, a day of chaos, a day of stress. A day filled with seniors running around the school like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to make sure they had their college applications finished by the midnight deadline. All around the school, McCallum seniors were putting the finishing touches on their essays, begging teachers to submit their recommendations, even reminding their counselor to send in their transcripts, foregoing doing their actual school work.

No, you’re not going to want to do your college applications over the summer. But you’re going to want to do them even less during the school year.”

It doesn’t have to be like this. If you’re smart, you can be the one person sitting back and relaxing in class while you watch all the other seniors scramble to get their college applications in order. And, in this case, being smart means doing your college applications over the summer.

The summer before senior year is a time of relaxation for most people. But, not all seniors spend their summers relaxing. Some people have summer jobs, some people go on trips, some people volunteer, and some people, the wise few, do their college applications. Though this isn’t a super popular idea with most seniors, we at The Shield would recommend this course of action to everyone already planning ahead for college.

Understandably, people don’t want to spend their summer completing college applications. Summers are supposed to be free of homework (except the summer assignments that, though we don’t recommend it, everyone already waits until the last minute to do anyway). And college applications are even worse—they’re not even required for school. So no, you’re not going to want to do your college applications over the summer. But you’re going to want to do them even less during the school year. Doing the work during the summer isn’t exactly desirable, it’s much, much better than scrambling to finish it in the little pockets of free time you have when school starts.

During the school year you have eight hours of school, extracurriculars and hours of homework. In the summer, you have much more free time to devote to creating your academic future.

In the case of schools with rolling admissions, completing and submitting your application early will not only increase your chances of getting admitted into the college but might also increase the amount of financial aid colleges offer you.”

Don’t wait until the last minute, or the last day to start doing your work, because, honestly, it won’t get done. It takes time for a transcript request to be processed, and for your teachers to write their recommendations. You also need time to write your essays—and even if they seem easy, they’re not. At least write your essays over the summer, so you can edit and revise them in school and get feedback from teachers. If you write drafts of your essays early, it’ll be easier to catch mistakes, and teachers are more willing to help you at the beginning of the year, when things are relatively calm.

Finishing your applications early leaves lots of time to change and adjust them. You’ll have lots of time to edit and proofread all your essays, and will have ample time to have your teachers look over your short-answer questions. You’ll also have more than enough time to make sure all your materials get submitted in time, so you won’t be worrying about getting it all together when the deadline rolls around, especially since it takes a couple of days for all of the materials to get to the school. Getting an early start also gives you time to double-check your transcripts and review your recommendations with your teachers.

Not only does doing your college applications during the summer help with timing, it also decreases your overall stress. You won’t have to worry about writing all your essays during the year, and, when all the other seniors start freaking out about college applications they haven’t done, you’ll be able to sit back in your chair and relax, while everyone else runs around in panic mode.

Many colleges track when you apply and can use it for campus assignments.”

Submitting your college applications early also ensures that technical issues will not interfere with your submission. In the past, Common App has crashed the day before applications were due, and made it impossible for applicants to submit their applications on time. If you submit your applications even a couple of weeks before the deadline, the chance for technical issues to derail your timely submission will be minimized.

Some schools even offer rolling admissions, which means that they review applications as they receive them, instead of waiting until a deadline to start going through them. In this case, completing and submitting your application early will not only increase your chances of getting admitted into the college but might also increase the amount of financial aid colleges offer you.

Many colleges dole out money as they see fit, but they start with a set amount and have more money to give away at the top end of the application period as opposed to the tail end.

Don’t be a tail-end senior. Be a top-tier senior.

Doing college applications over the summer is especially wise for early-decision and early-action applications, since the Nov. 1 deadline is right in the middle of the second six-week grading period.

Getting everything done to make the Nov. 1 deadline is challenging, and finishing the application early will give you enough time to submit the application with time to spare.

Even for regular-decision applications, finishing early is important. Even if the school doesn’t have rolling admissions, many schools make note of when the applicant submits their application. Though submitting your application early isn’t a guarantee that the college will review your application any sooner, many colleges track when you apply, and can use it for campus assignments, among other things.

Besides, there’s no better time for you to make an early effort to make a good first impression.