College Application Essays Shouldn’t be a Hail Mary PassSchool is back in session, and football season opens tonight! Excitement fills the air! I live close enough to Quince Orchard High School to hear the band practicing in mid-afternoon. Tonight avid members of the QO community will flaunt their Spirit Wear at the opening game, at home, against Clarksburg. The community support QO receives is extraordinary.
Even people without a kid on the team, in the band, or on the cheering or dance squads, will head out to the game. It’s the place to be! We watch the students root for each other and strut their stuff, whether it’s from the playing field, from the half-time show, or from the bench. The spirit is contagious!
But do you know what other season it is? It’s College Application Season. And like football season, those who will find the most success are those who will have invested their time. The good news is that there is no need for the seniors to sweat it out everyday after school or be put to the test each weekend. Other than for meeting their deadlines, students can gear up on their own schedule.
College Season officially opened on Aug. 1, when the College Board posted the Common Application, which students use to apply online to about 500 schools around the country. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that everyone should jump fully into the game from the very onset. However, there is no doubt that students benefit from at least taking an early look at the application. For instance, scouting out the writing prompts early definitely allows more time for the student to choose the story he or she thinks will best illustrate personal character.
Students who begin their first drafts in good time gain an even greater edge. The earlier students start writing, in general, the more time they will have for revisions and for better organizing their thoughts. Of course there will always be some students who finish a rough draft or two before school starts. But most students (and adults!) procrastinate. Some high school seniors, even now, haven’t taken even their first peek at the new writing prompts or anything else on the Common App. But just as in football, the game clock is ticking and time-outs are limited. Those who haven’t jumped in the game yet, had better start now!
The last football game for QO will be against Wootton on November 8th. That's a full week past the early admission and early acceptance deadlines. It's also a full week past the College Park deadline for students who want the best shot at acceptance and the only shot for consideration for its honors or scholars programs. And just as in football–or any other sport–the further one gets behind, the more difficult it becomes to compete.
Practice, routine, and review make for champions. College application essays rarely make it to the desired end zone if they’re approached like a Hail Mary pass.
Hmmm, now where did I stash my Spirit Wear? The football game will be starting soon!