Have you checked your mail lately? Your inbox? Do you have a stack of college brochures somewhere on the floor in your house?
Probably the best way to wrap your mind around all of the different requirements and dates will be to put it all on paper. So go ahead and pull out a sheet of poster board and tack it up in your room or set up an Excel spreadsheet that you can continuously refer to throughout your college search process. List the schools you will apply to and leave room for a few more you might consider later. When is the application deadline? What do you need to request from a teacher/counselor/registrar? What is the scholarship deadline?
Write it all out. Visualization is an amazing trick. Believe me—it will help.
By the way, I assure you that college admission officers don’t get together to try to confuse the process or add to your stress during your senior year. It is really just a matter that each school operates differently. We all have different committee review processes, admission criteria, admission decision dates, and ways that students can be considered for scholarships.
In the end, the deadlines help us to help you. By meeting the appropriate deadlines for each school, you put yourself in the best possible position for admission consideration and potentially, scholarship consideration. Once admitted, you are also set up to receive additional information on majors, clubs and organizations, residence life, financial aid, additional scholarships, and more.
All of this is in support of giving you, the student, an opportunity to drive the rest of the process. You see, the tables turn once you are admitted. From this point forward, admission officers are all waiting to hear from you. So take time to visit each campus, sit in on classes, talk with students and faculty, and attend an open house or admitted student event.
I invite you to get organized if you haven’t done so already. Attack the deadlines, don’t fear them. For those of you who doubt the poster idea, one of our sophomore students returned this fall and dropped by the admission office. She mentioned a friend of hers who is applying to Loyola and said how she recommended the poster board idea because “it saved her life.” She remembers organizing it and then adding to it and crossing things off as she completed tasks and met deadlines. I am personally many years removed from the college application process, but given that she just went through it herself with success, I strongly believe she has a good idea.
P.S.: Loyola’s priority application deadline is December 1!