Dragging your heels, saying “I’ll tackle it tomorrow,” and waiting until the last minute… sound like you? In this blog post we cover three essential times you DON’T want to wait and explain how it could cost you if you do.

Starting in November

I’m not going to name names, but a senior just came to me the other day, in early November, with nine schools she wants to apply to and not a single thing done. She will have to work very quickly to get all of her essays and applications out, which means she likely won’t produce her best work. Ask any high school senior and they will tell you… don’t wait until the fall of senior year to begin the college search and application process. Mid-junior year is the ideal time.

It’s going to be costly

What are the implications for submitting your financial aid applications late?  It could be thousands of dollars.  Although the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) controls eligibility for Federal and State government aid (which generally has earliest deadlines of May 2020), many colleges use hard deadlines and require extra applications to award their own money, with deadlines MUCH earlier than this.  Financial aid is a limited resource so imposing deadlines is a common way for schools to exclude candidates and make their selection for scholarship recipients easier.  Some schools have a “first come first serve policy” too, so once the money runs out, it’s gone.   Don’t miss out on free money that your family could receive simply because you didn’t plan carefully.  Every college’s financial aid website has clear deadlines established.  Making absolutely sure you have submitted financial aid requirements ON TIME is the easiest way to ensure full consideration of funds.  

Tears and applications don’t mix

If you are a student who applied Early Action or Early Decision to your favorite college(s), you might be tempted to try to save yourself some time by waiting until you hear from those schools before applying to Regular Decision schools in the winter. Most early notifications go out right before Christmas, which means that if the responses aren’t what you had hoped, and if you scramble, you can get some regular applications out by January 1. But, what about the emotional toll of not getting into some of your schools with early deadlines? You’ll be crying over your computer trying to write a “Why Us Essay” about a school, and suddenly you can’t think of a single thing to like about it. Don’t wait on those applications with regular deadlines. Submit them now and then you won’t be stressing, working over the holidays, or worse yet, crying while hitting Submit.

Not waiting until the last minute is good for many reasons, but in the world of college admissions, it can be especially important. Don’t delay, get started on applications, essays and financial aid forms sooner rather than later and you will be glad you did.