Last-Minute Application Hysteria


If your high school student applied Early Decision to a beloved college or a strategically-chosen likely, November 1st or November 15th were days of celebration.  By those dates a version of the Common App had to be completed, ending procrastination and endless essay revisions.

Now that November has come and gone, what sort of psychology should early applicants employ for completing their remaining 17 applications?  Some students, encouraged by independent counselors (who get paid by the hour), feel compelled to finish all 33 supplements before early results come out in mid-December.  They believe that if deferred or rejected, they will be too depressed to devote proper attention to their remaining RD (Regular Decision) apps. Students in this catagory end up with Application Insurance of sorts, but face the risk of having to write dozens of essays for naught. And they lose out on a relaxing, restorative Thanksgiving, their last one at home as a high school student.

Others who apply early believe that they should not spend one moment on any essay or application that they might not need to complete if they get accepted to their early schools.  These gamblers have even said that it is bad karma to even ponder “Why Johns Hopkins” when they have applied early to Northwestern.  Students in this category live dangerously, turning the application process into a true nailbiter, and often end up destroying their family’s last ski trip, as they desperately work on apps until the moment the ball falls in Times Square.

With this conundrum in mind, the Neurotic Parent Institute proposes a new anti-festival: Winter Hellday.  Falling on December 16th, prior to Christmas, Kwanzaa, the Equinox and often before Chanukah, this is a 24-hour period during which rejected and deferred early applicants must stay up all night with their bleary-eyed parents as support teams.  At the stroke of midnight on December 17th, all RD apps must be completed and turned in.  By embracing this new holiday, applicants and their families can spend the rest of their winter vacation worrying, rather than writing.

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