In the hopes of streamlining the college application process while alleviating the stressors associated with it, I generally advise my students to break the college application process down into five smaller components or “projects” that they should account for weekly. Assuming that standardized tests have been completed and any additional materials have been prepared (i.e. artistic submissions, athletic recruiting film…etc.), all students will need to focus on a) finalizing their official “college list” b) asking their teachers for recommendations and coordinating logistics with their Guidance Department c) composing their 650-word Common Application “Personal Statement” d) creating their Common Application “Activities List” and e) writing “supplemental essays” for each school.
While some of these tasks may require drastically more work output than others, I find that there is still tremendous value in monitoring each individual project steadfastly. There are frequently several dynamic elements associated with each project as well as fluctuating deadlines that can contribute to important work components being lost in the fray. Therefore, I highly recommend that students break down the college application into its most essential elements. If students can create project deadlines for each of these five tasks and complete their work piecemeal, the totality of the college application process becomes much less stressful and students find themselves accomplishing their goals within the allotted 3-4 month time frame.