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Why You Should Submit Your Applications a Week Before the Deadline

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summer journalYes, you heard us. You should aim to submit each and every college application on your list at least a week before its actual deadline.

You’re probably thinking, “But, College Essay Advisors, I need all the time I can get! I’m stressed and I need to make absolutely sure every comma is correct. I want to read through every essay and activity description until the words lose all meaning.” We applaud you, meticulous applicant. (And to the silent procrastinator in the back, we see you, too.) But there are three big reasons why you should give yourself a week of buffer time, and we promise the benefits outweigh the risks.

3. It will help you avoid making sloppy mistakes during the submission process. As many a Black Friday stampede has taught us, rushing is rarely a good idea. Submitting your applications before you’re down to the wire will allow you to take your time and focus. You’ll be able to copy, paste, and attach each item methodically. This might sound extreme, but you’ll thank us when you’re not scrambling to submit applications to 10 different schools at virtually the same time. The last thing you want is to accidentally send your Wesleyan essay to Wellesley or forget to submit an optional essay. Taking your time will give you the headspace to manage these final details and cross the finish line without a hitch.

2. It will give you peace of mind. Sometimes the best way to avoid stress is to take a deep breath and let your essays go. You don’t have to spend every last moment nitpicking each word and phrase. You’ve already had a trusted friend or family member or even college essay advisor read through your essay, right? You’ve double and triple checked your activity descriptions for typos, reordered your list of activities five times to ensure admissions knows that you are both a team player and natural leader, and typed your address in twice to make sure your creepy neighbor, Bob, doesn’t receive your letters (of acceptance, hopefully) instead. Now you can give yourself a break! Added perks include getting a head start on your senior spring and feeling superior to all of your peers who are still working on their applications.

1. The number one reason why we encourage students to try to tie up all their loose ends a week before their applications are due is because (drum roll please!) technology is not foolproof! Many students are using all the time they have at their disposal and applying a day before the deadline which means websites like the Common Application and Coalition are overrun with users and they are often incredibly slow because of it. College applications may not have been on your mind when the Common App crashed in 2013 and 2017, but trust us, it was brutal. Applying a week before the deadline (or even four days before) gives you the opportunity to apply without running the risk of the site crashing while you’re in the middle of copying and pasting your essay.

So don’t freak out. Relax. Hit submit. Don’t wait for the site to crash to experience your first college-related meltdown, save that special experience for midterms next year.

Don't know which Common App essay prompt to choose?
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Check out out comprehensive guide to the Common App essay prompts!

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