That’s not a rhetorical headline, for once. I’d like to know: how do you (student or parent) prepare to meet deadlines?
Our household has spent the past two months dealing with application deadlines. To protect the innocent, I won’t indicate which teen — Mod Squad Julie or Linc — is which:
- Mid-December one teen went online to begin completing a draft application for a much-desired selective summer program and found out the deadline was three days earlier. Fortunately, that was a soft deadline for a teacher to compile apps for a hard deadline two weeks later. The teen hustled like mad to complete the app that night; the teacher accepted it the following day. Lesson learned? Maybe.
- Late January one teen scrambled through a series of essay drafts right up to the parent-defined-early-deadline for a much-desired selective educational program.
- Mid February one teen wrote fuzzy draft responses (using same or similar information to respond to each of a series of questions) for a much-desired selective summer program until the last week when the essays made their way toward a strong personal statement. App submitted two hours before the deadline.
- One more deadline looms for a teen at the end of February for another much-desired selective summer program…
We’ve given this advice to our teens:
- Print out the application form as soon as it’s available and complete the easy parts.
- Figure out what you need from others — transcript, recommendations, health forms — and get those requests out ASAP.
- Read through the essay questions and start thinking.
- Begin writing draft responses as soon as you can.
After the fuzzy draft experience, I have added:
- Make a list of the points you want to share (from experiences, extra-curriculars, interests, goals, etc.) and divide them appropriately among the questions.
For the most part, given the number of activities each of the teens is juggling — academics, sports, music, part-time work — they usually do well. However, given the deadline-dance we’ve gone through lately and anticipating college app deadlines next fall, I’m ready to ask for ideas.
What do you do?