Time, budget, and scope

When you’re working on a project and it becomes clear you’re going to miss your deadline, you can change the time, the budget, or the scope.

Changing the time means adding more of it by extending the deadline.

Changing the budget means spending more—money, energy, resources, etc.

But changing the scope actually means doing less. Cut the project in half. Remove a feature or a requirement. Take away something that’s just not necessary, get everything else right, and ship it. Changing the scope can actually be like a purification system. Get rid of everything that just doesn’t matter and spend your remaining time and budget on things that do.

Many seniors are worrying about completing their college applications on time. So what are your options?

You can’t change the time—college deadlines are fixed.

You can change the budget by spending more of your attention and energy than you currently are. It’s entirely possible that you’ve been under-spending in those areas and it’s time to reallocate those resources.

But don’t forget to take a hard look at the scope.

Do you need to apply to 15 or 17 or 22 colleges? (You don’t.)

Do you need to apply to those three schools that you don’t know much about but everyone else seems to like?

Do you need to apply to that fifth reach school just because you think that adding more to your list will increase your odds?

I wouldn’t recommend chopping down a list that your counselor has already approved without discussing it with them first. But if you’re feeling pressed by deadlines and just don’t have any room left to spend more, consider changing the scope of your college application project.