Earlier vs. faster vs. better

Writing a blog that dispenses advice about a ritual that repeats annually, like the college admissions process, means that while some readers have been here (and part of the process) before, some are going through this for the first time. The choice to write new material for a returning audience or to rehash old messaging that’s fresh for the new audience is an interesting balance, one that I may not always get right.

But as the Common App went live this week in what’s become an annual signal of the college admissions kickoff, I’d like to return again to an old message, and a few past posts to help this year’s applicants get off on the right application foot.

Extreme approaches work against you in the college admissions process, especially around time management. Procrastinating until the deadline forces you into application submission is a terrible strategy that will increase your anxiety, decrease the quality of the application, and perpetuate the feeling for the entire family that this is a process to be survived, not enjoyed.

But efforts to combat that procrastination shouldn’t cause you to overcorrect, either. Thoughtful applications and essays need time for reflection and revision. There’s no reason for any applicant to already feel like they’ve fallen behind. August is a great time to start because you’re so ahead of the curve, not because you’re already behind it.

Here are two past posts, one touting the benefits of starting early and another reminding you that too fast is just as ineffective as too late.