Can We Just Take a Hot Second and Talk About the Admissions Timeline?
Can we just take a hot second and talk about time? As in, timelines and everything that needs to get done when you have a budding college applicant in the house.
Our third, Aaron, is a high school junior. I just booked his first official college visit that is not virtual! I was so excited by this accomplishment that I sent a screenshot of the confirmation to the family group chat. (I usually ONLY send pictures of Aspen, Buxy, and Bella because I'm the crazy dog lady in our tribe.)
You may — quite logically — be asking yourself, “Why is this such a big deal? She’s an educational consultant and her two oldest children have already graduated college…?” I’m here to tell you that when it comes to timing and the college admissions process, you can’t allow yourself to be fooled by the seemingly vast amount of time between now and the application deadline. The expanse of that stretch of time is illusory, and not only it is filled with pitfalls and detours on the admissions journey; it’s already full with all of the other things that ALREADY fill your days to the breaking point.
Here is what the application timeline really looks like from my corner of the universe. I suspect the scenario I am going to share will strike a chord with you.
Our two teenagers attend boarding school in Vermont. They have a three-week Spring Break starting on Good Friday and extending to what at first felt like the Fourth of Effen July. When I heard they had three weeks off, my first reaction was “OMG what in the world are we going to do locked up in a house together during COVID-19 with no virtual school for THREE STRAIGHT WEEKS?
However: after aligning my calendar, my husband’s calendar, the Under-19 FIS Ski Racing calendar, and the quarantining rules for return-to-school, guess the size of the window of availability to visit prospective schools?
That gaping, terrifying, wide-open three weeks collapsed under the weight of existing commitments to one Thursday and one Friday bookended by ski races, appointments at the dentist, orthodontist and pediatrician, and quarantine requirements.
The lesson? The college admissions timeline starts long before the deadline. If you have a sophomore or junior in the house, it’s time to start booking some visits if you can.
The sooner you start, the more flexibility you’ll have to adjust as the inevitable, aforementioned pitfalls pop up. The admissions process, while daunting, doesn’t have to be a breathless dash to the finish line… but that means starting now.