Pre-submit panic

Seniors, if you’re rushing to complete your applications for November 1 early deadlines, here’s a tip meant to calm, not terrorize you.

Expect to panic.

It’s not at all uncommon for seniors to second-guess everything about their application just minutes before sending it.

Should I have written a different essay?

I probably didn’t’ describe my volunteer work well.

I should have used the “Additional Information” section to mention my athlete’s foot and how that severely impacted both my leadership ability and my grade in trigonometry.

Don’t listen to yourself.

Your brain does terrible things to you before you do something really important. There’s a finality to this act. Once you click submit, it’s out there, out of your control. It’s instinctual to want to hide rather than do anything that feels risky.

Pre-submit panic is also why seniors who are done with applications well ahead of deadlines will then borderline hijack their work and refuse to push the “Submit” button. Why commit and take the risk today when I can put it off and stay safe?

I would never tell an applicant not to put time, effort, and care into their application. Get feedback. Make revisions. Have someone capable proofread it. It’s your college application, after all.

But once you’ve done those things, you’re ready to submit. Any sense of panic, any fear that you missed something, any feelings that you’re somehow a fraud who will soon be exposed as having no business at all applying to this college–all of those are just pre-submit panic setting in.

It can happen to anyone, even to the highest-achieving, most seemingly-perfect-on-paper student. It’s not rational. It has no foundation in fact. And it happens all the time.

So here’s a recommended strategy—expect it. When you feel the panic set in, just say to yourself, “Oh, there it is, the panic the Collegewise guy was talking about.”

Once you call the panic out like that, it actually starts to dissipate pretty quickly. Then you can get back to submitting, and to celebrating the completion of your (early) application journey.