Let’s face it, procrastination is a rite of passage for many students, and while it’s frequently done before exams, doing your college application at the last minute creates a greater chance of not getting into the school of your choice. Too often, people assume that college admission committees only look at grades and test scores, and perhaps a few extracurricular activities. The reality is that most, if not all, applications are looked at as a whole. An admissions committee person not only wants the best students, they want well rounded people who can benefit from their learning environment, which means that the personal statement or any area where you have a chance to showcase your personality is an area that you should not wait to do at the last minute.
Sure, there are some parts that can be filled out at any time such as biographical data and schools attended, but areas such as a personal statement or open ended questions are not places you should procrastinate on. Not only are you not putting in your best work, you may end up showcasing sloppiness if there are grammatical or typographical errors. Personal statements are perhaps one of the best ways you can “speak” to the admission committee. It takes practice and time to be clear, concise, and impactful. More than anything else, it is extremely important to have multiple pairs of eyes on your application.
Treating your application as if it’s a newspaper or a public facing document not only forces you to take your time, but can support you in making an application that is not only impressive, but one that allows the application committee to know you better. If you decide to pull an all-nighter or give yourself only a few days to complete the application, you are creating unnecessary stress. How does one eat an elephant? One piece at a time. I truly believe that giving yourself time in each section of the application will set you up to be seen as the student you wish the committee to know.
I admit it. I became tempted to procrastinate, and the real reason was my fear. Fear of not being good enough, of making mistakes, of not being taken seriously. Yet, what truly supported me was reaching out to loved ones, teachers and colleagues who were willing to read and critique my application. Some of the feedback was hard to take, but invaluable. If I had waited until the last minute, there is no way I would have presented the best version of me to the admission committee. So in a nutshell, don’t wait until the last minute!
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