Many students are anxiously awaiting the results of their early applications before they invest time in other applications. This is a big mistake. If students are deferred or rejected from their early application schools, they need to be ready to submit their strongest applications to other colleges.
That’s why it’s important to keep working throughout November and December. Getting a rejection in mid-December can be a crushing disappointment, and it is very hard to recover from that emotional blow and do your best work on seven other applications when you have just two weeks till the early January deadlines. While it may be difficult to push yourself to work on applications while you’re waiting to get into your favorite college, it will be much harder after a rejection. If you have finished your other applications and you are denied or deferred by your early school, you will be very relieved that your applications are ready to submit. Best case scenario is that you are accepted at your early school, and in that case you will be so excited that you won’t care about the unnecessary work you did on other applications.
Students who did not submit early applications really have no reason to wait, and if they haven’t completed an application yet, it’s especially important to get started. In addition to writing essays, you need to complete the activities/community service/work experience section, and you want to write those descriptions concisely and accurately. Admissions officers appreciate an application that is clear and easy to read. Print out the application so you can proofread it. You may find that some of your activity descriptions are cut off, requiring you to rewrite them. All of this takes time. Add the stress of rushing to finish seven supplements in the last few days and you are more likely to make mistakes. You also risk your computer or the server crashing, or a winter storm that knocks out your electricity right before the application deadline.
Remember that with the Common Application you need to submit the application, supplement and payment separately. Students sometimes think that once they submit payment, the application automatically follows. Since it can take up to 48 hours for your payment to be processed, waiting until the day of a deadline means your application might not be submitted in time. Check the My Colleges page to confirm that your applications have been submitted. You can also see if your counselor and teacher have submitted their forms.
If you have questions as you’re working on the Common Application, the “Help” button at the top of the Common Application will take you to the Applicant Support Center. If you don’t find the answer to your question there, you can contact technical support.