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College Applications: Why You Need to Start Now

Posted on 10/16/2017, by Dr. Ellen Fithian to Parents of 12th Graders (0 comments)

If you’re the parent of a senior, chances are you’re feeling a tad panicky right now. In the next few months, your teen needs to finish standardized testing, complete multiple applications and essays, request recommendations and begin researching scholarships. How, you wonder, will she manage to shoehorn these tasks into the spare moments of her already frenzied life? How should she even begin?

Many students attempt to simplify the process by applying early to their favorite school and postponing work on their other applications. They reason that if they’re not accepted at First Choice U, there'll be time to apply to other colleges later. This approach has an obvious appeal; if it works the student has managed to shortcut a burdensome process. However, if it doesn’t, the consequences can be quite damaging.

Each year in mid-December I receive calls from a few families of  seniors who have been deferred—or denied– by their dream school. Now, when the student is already disappointed and demoralized, he or she is scrambling to find other colleges and churn out multiple applications.

Worse, the family is discovering that application deadlines for many desirable programs have already passed. For example, to be considered for George Mason's Honors College and University Scholars programs, a student's application has to be submitted by November 1. Likewise, the deadline to be considered for scholarships at Virginia Commonwealth University is November 15. To be considered for admission to any of the University of California schools, a student has to apply by November 30. These are just three examples of the many great opportunities that have early deadlines you might not want your teen to miss.

Like any daunting task, the best approach to the college application process is to break it down into manageable pieces. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting step-by-step advice on what you need to do, when you need to do it, so tune in regularly to help keep yourself - and your teen - on task. 

There’s still time for your family to accomplish all your college planning tasks in a thorough—and sane– manner, so do yourself a favor. Get started.

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Posted on 10/16/2017, by Dr. Ellen Fithian (0 comments)




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