A word of advice for early decision applicants

Imagine you meet your boyfriend or girlfriend for a dinner date on Friday night and instead of sitting down to eat, you're met with the words, "I'm sorry, but I want to break up."  Ooof.

You'd be hurt, probably surprised, and would likely head home for a weekend of mourning. 

Now imagine that when you got home, you remembered that you have a huge research project due on Monday and you haven't even started.  What would that feel like, having to throw yourself into an important project immediately after your breakup?  Could you do a good job when your head and heart just aren't in it?  Would it make your post-break up pain even worse? 

That's how a lot of students who are applying early decision to colleges are going to feel in December.

Early decision deadlines (the binding admissions program in which you promise to attend a college if they accept you), are quickly approaching.   In return for applying early, you'll hear back from those colleges in early December.  A lot of students apply to one of those schools and then wait with their fingers crossed, leaving all of their other college applications to wait until they get the news back from their dream school.  That's a fantastic system if you get an acceptance from that one school.  But if you don't…

1.  You now have to start all of your other college applications.

2.  You'll only have a few weeks to do them, and you'll be working all through your holiday break.

3.  You'll have to muster the enthusiasm to put all the necessary love and attention into these remaining college applications, all while nursing the emotional hangover from the dream school that rejected you.

Don't do it to yourself.  Plan for the worst.  Work on and complete all of your college applications. If your dream school says "No," you'll be able to take some solace in the fact that at least your other applications have already been submitted.  It will be like having a date with a new person already lined up before your significant other breaks up with you.  OK, maybe that's not good relationship advice, but with your college applications, it's just good planning.

Yes, if your dream school admits you, you'll have completely wasted your time on those other applications.  But which problem would you rather have?