Don’t let fear hijack your college applications

We've noticed that a lot of students, particularly the highest achievers, hijack their applications.  They hold onto them as late as possible, claiming they want to make just a few more changes, or add a few more edits to their essays, or show their drafts to just a few more people. 

Most of the time, that's fear talking.  The students just don't know it.

The harder you've worked in high school, the scarier it is to submit an application to a school you really care about.  When you still have your application, nobody's judging you yet.  You're safe.  You're still in control.

But once you submit it, it's out there.  No turning back.  The college has it, they're going to read it, and eventually they're going to say yes or no. 

You might have to deal with rejection. Or you might have to face the reality of leaving home and going someplace new.  The finality of submitting an application can be scary.

But it's important to understand two things when you do something as important as submit a college application.

1)  It's normal to feel nervous. 

2)  Waiting longer to take the last step won't make those nerves go away. 

Taking big steps always come with some nerves.  That's normal.  Don't expect that you're every going to edit and revise your way to a sense of comfort.

Those application hijackers aren't any more sure of themselves one week or three weeks or six weeks later.  Their applications usually don't get any better during that time.  Just older.  

I'm not saying you should rush your applications. Give them the time and attention they deserve.  But at some point, you've just got to acknowledge that you've done everything you can do.  There's no amount of editing or input from outside sources that's going to make your application any better.

The nerves go away within a few days after you submit it.  At that point, you have no choice but to accept that it's out of your control.  But until then, be ready to recognize when you're really done.  And when you reach that point, hit the "Submit" and feel good about it.  Don't let fear hijack your applications.