With early applications finally submitted, students are feeling huge relief. They are also exhausted and the thought of drafting more essays is almost unimaginable. Motivating students to move forward with regular decision apps when they are in the midst of extra-curricular priorities and keeping up grades, is even more difficult than completing that common app.
So how do you help your teen muster the strength to finish up the rest of the applications? Break it down into steps:
Prioritize the essays/applications for your teen. Obviously, if your student is certain which essay he wishes to draft next, this pointer does not apply. But more often, students welcome someone else directing their next steps. List the applications in order of importance. First the essays for the "reach schools" still on the list, but do not ignore the "safety schools" or leave them for last. Get at least one safety school application submitted before Thanksgiving to widen the net.
Set a deadline one essay at a time. Give your student the prompt (question to answer) for the next essay and say something to the effect: "when you're all done with homework tonight, let's brainstorm or outline the response for this one." If the student has a starting point he/she is much more likely to actually write the essay within the deadline.
Pay attention to school-specific applications. There are still many colleges that do not use the Common Application and have their own online application. Make sure your student begins filling out these applications so there are no surprises (i.e. essays that have changed; resume requests; additional recommendation letters). This is one of those clerical tasks that parents can certainly help with. It's perfectly okay for a parent to fill out the basic information sections and to be on the look-out for what else this particular application asks of the student.
And as always, professional assistance is a just phone call or email away. Independent counselors are a tremendous help managing the timeline and execution of applications up until the 11th hour. They take over the "nagging" and offer parents the peace of mind that there is still an adult overseeing the completion of ALL applications. firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.693.2702