For anyone emerging from the post-November 1st fog of deadlines and sprint finishes, congrats on making it this far! For anyone who might have chosen to forgo EA/ED submissions, your journey is about to begin. Keep reading to learn more about my tips on how an application calendar can help to keep you on track.
1. Rank Your Schools
There are two factors that you can use to do this: You can rank your schools based first on priority (by how interested you are in attending) and secondly by the amount of work required.
The general rule to follow is that schools that require more work (more essays, more supplementary research, more recommendations, and more attention) will need to be given as much time as possible to complete. Additionally, you also want to allow the most amount of time for your top choice schools so that your essays can be reviewed by as many eyes as necessary.
Determine first how important a particular school is, and reference this with the amount of work required to submit. A high-ranking favorite with several essays should be given the most amount of time possible, while a safety school that requires no essays can be submitted last. Create a timeline that will allow you plenty of time before submission due dates.
2. Stagger Your Submissions
Just because a deadline is on a particular date, it doesn’t mean that you can only submit on that date. Instead, if you see yourself coming up on multiple application deadlines on a single day, backtrack and give yourself a numbered list for how and when to submit.
Following from the ranking you created in Step 1, if two equally ranked schools have identical submission deadlines, pick one and submit it 2 weeks before the other. Take the number of schools you’re applying to, and divide it by the number of days available, creating a nice comfortable space between each school. Staggering submissions will help you to stay on track and complete small pieces of work consistently, rather than scrambling to wrap up everything all at once.
3. Allow Plenty of Time for Review
This is probably the most important feature of an application calendar. Time is fleeting and limited. Take as much of it as you can to create your first drafts and be sure to leave plenty of time available to review. Interests change, thoughts shift, essays settle. You want to set yourself up for success by giving any potential changes space to grow. Nothing feels worse than an application submitted at the last minute and below standards. As is commonly said, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Give yourself time to get it right on the first try.
What’s your favorite feature about an application timeline? Let us know below!
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