Need to Finish College Applications Quickly?

A turkey hangover is nothing compared to the headache of finishing last-minute college applications.

For most colleges, student applications for next year are due at the beginning of December. If students have procrastinated on their applications, that means a Thanksgiving weekend that’s not much of a break at all.

Instead, students (and their parents) get stressed out and overwhelmed by the application process. Putting off such an important piece of the college process until the last minute leaves everybody feeling stressed out and on edge.

Granted, there’s not much time left between now and Turkey day next Thursday. But there’s still an opportunity to help your student reduce friction in the application process—and make sure those apps get turned in by the deadlines.

Here are five steps you can take today (yes, literally today) to help your student finish their college applications quickly:

Look at the entire process from start to finish.

Before your student digs into listing out their extracurriculars, pull back and make sure you’ve identified every piece of the process. What can your student complete on their own? Where do they need help from a parent, counselor, or teacher? Is there supporting documentation you need to acquire?

Request all necessary information and documentation.

Think about whose help you need to complete the applications, based on your work in #1. Contact those people or institutions ASAP; they may not be able to help you over the weekend or during the holiday. Work on getting all your documentation in order now.

Determine a sequence for completing the remaining application pieces.

Your student may need to polish up a draft of their essay today, complete the Common App tomorrow, and then revisit the essay again in a couple of days to finalize. Tackle big projects or particularly challenging areas first.

Schedule daily work sessions.

Help your student set aside time each day to work on college applications, and block those times off in their calendar (and your calendar, if they’ll need your assistance). At the top of each session, your student should identify what they want to complete, based on the sequence they determined in step #3.

Call us if you need help.

If the prospect of completing steps #1-4 already has you in a cold sweat, you may need some help from Signet’s seasoned professionals. Our team is standing by to support you, whether that’s with a quick phone call or by connecting you to one of our admissions experts for some last-minute app assistance.

The college admissions countdown has begun, but there’s still time for your student to put together a strong application. Use this article as your roadmap and help your student get started today!

Picture of Sheila A.

Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

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