Avoiding the Common App

Image courtesy of 5 Step Solution

I keep telling myself that I will get it done. I’ve completed some work, I try to keep up, but the list is almost never-ending. I open my laptop and stare at the essay prompt, the short answer questions–the never-ending list of supplementary work. I cannot even bring myself to complete one application. School is taking up all my time, right? …I have plenty of time left….I’ll get to it… It doesn’t seem too hard…

Everyone is aware that the Common Application was released in August and the Common Application essay prompts have been out since the beginning of summer. We should be deep in the college application process by now to better our chances of getting into the schools we want, but how much should we already have done? Personally, with all of the work I should be doing to prepare and apply for college right now, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed. The college application process is a lot to take on, and it is worrisome to see myself fall behind my peers. There is little structure in applying for colleges apart from the major deadlines, so who or what makes sure we complete our work?

I cannot seem to get myself on the proactive train, so I’m going to make a change. I know I’m not the only one, so I might as well share this great wealth of knowledge with my peers.

Here are 3 easy steps you should take to finally get started on those college apps:

1. Talk to your over-achieving friend

We all have that friend, and most of the time we avoid talking to them about any school work because they are a big whopping reminder of all the work we are not doing. But that’s exactly what you need! It’s good to follow by example. When you talk to your friends about what they have already done and the steps they have completed in the process then you have a better idea of what you have to do. Make it a goal to catch up with them; make competition work for you.

2. Prioritize what is important.

Really! The only way to get any of this college stuff done is to make it a priority. If you don’t care about college admissions, you might as well give up now because none of those apps will get done unless your parent tries to force feed you the application. Ask yourself: is college an important part of your future? I always say that fear is a great motivator, so the fact that I am terrified of college rejections might just be a plus.


Self-motivation is one of the hardest things a teen such as myself must learn. It important for any one of your goals. No one is going to hold your hand and make sure your dreams happen. Such independence is intimidating, but we are almost adults. Do whatever it takes! Look at yourself in the mirror and say great things about yourself, make a goal list, repeat “I can do it” over and over, do some voo-doo dance–I don’t care! It’s going to take a lot of soul searching, but as soon as you have a purpose and drive to accomplish something, nothing can stop you from making it happen.

This year of college applications and future planning will be a test. It will test the work we were ready and willing to put in, and if we were able to motivate ourselves. And yes, we procrastinators could argue that there is plenty of time left, but in this case we cannot rely on our usual time crunch to motivate us to get started, or we might find ourselves sacrificing quality to meet the deadline.

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