On Saturday, October 27, my friend Joann was in her house, just north of New York City.  She said to her son, Alec, that Hurricane Sandy was coming, and that they should submit all his college (undergraduate) applications RIGHT AWAY, so that they wouldn’t need to worry about the storm.  Sandy arrived around mid-day on Monday (October 29) and knocked out Joann’s electricity until Friday, November 2, one day after the deadline that Alec needed to meet.

Dear blog reader, every year I beg applicants to submit their applications early.  Do they listen to me?  Well, some do.  But 75% of our applicants do not.  This year, I once again implore you to submit early, but if you don’t want to listen to me, then listen to Joann.

Lest I leave any doubt, I am not suggesting you submit an application that is incomplete or somehow wanting.  Rather, I’m telling you to create a personalized deadline that is ahead of our deadline, and work back from there to ensure your application is perfect and complete.  For example, if you’re aiming for our January 10 deadline, then:

January 3, complete the application form (short answers) while continuing to polish essays
January 5, add your essays to the application, and proofread everything
January 6, do something completely different that will clear your head
January 7, reread the application instructions and, with special attention to ensuring you have followed those instructions, review each part of your application
January 8, submit the application
January 9-10, in your head (not out loud, please), gloat about your timely application submission

If, like Joann and Alec, you’re concerned about the potential for technical problems, set your personalized deadline earlier than January 8, and start the final polishing earlier, too.  The idea is to aim for a date that enables you to present a flawless document, but also leaves breathing room before the actual deadline.  Remember, too, that meeting the deadline requires that you submit the online application (and included materials) by 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5) of the due date.  If test scores or recommendations arrive slightly after the deadline, we’ll still consider your application to be on-time.

I assure you that this is good advice.  But if you don’t believe me, ask Joann.  Alec doesn’t yet recognize the value of his mother’s wisdom, but you can still learn from it.

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