I’m pretty short, so when I purchase theatre tickets, I like to get good seats, usually in the front orchestra section. Of course, there’s always the chance that a man who is over 6 feet tall or a lady who keeps her hat on may end up sitting directly in front of me. But still, I try. So it was no surprise to my friend with whom I planned to go to the theatre a while back that, on the eve before tickets were to become available for a play that I particularly wanted to see, I sat at my computer, poised at 11:58 p.m. to purchase tickets at the stroke of midnight. I pressed “Send;” it worked: I got two seats for first row orchestra center. Unfortunately, the play was “Equus.” Front row seating allowed us to view, rather uncomfortably, a bit more of Daniel Radcliffe (of “Harry Potter” fame) than we would have preferred. It would have been better had I waited, say, until about 12:15.
So I found myself chuckling when I read Jacques Steinberg’s August 11 New York Times article “Feeling Anxious and Applying Now: More Students File College Paperwork Early, In Many Cases Needlessly So.” When the 2011 Common Application first appeared online on August 1, students rushed to be the first to apply to the universities of their dreams, pressing “Send” at 12:01 a.m.
First, applying to college is not the same as “securing tickets to a soon-to-be-sold-out rock concert,” as Steinberg says. Although it’s fine to get an early start on the application process, admissions officers at most schools (with the exception of some schools that have rolling admissions policies) don’t even look at applications until mid-October. So rushing to be the first to apply doesn’t guarantee you first row seats in Freshman Comp class — or anything else, for that matter.
Second, the other parts of the application, namely the teacher and counselor recommendations, secondary school transcripts, or early fall test scores will not be electronically knocking at the universities’ doors until well into September or October, so the application won’t be complete anyway.
Third, any additional opportunities, experiences, honors, or leadership positions that might arise at the beginning of senior year are no longer fair game for anything other than a quick email (“Oh, btw, dear Admissions Officer, I just became editor of my school yearbook…”)
And last, as all of us who have “pulled all-nighters” well know, the essays that you might be in such a rush to send may not be your best work. Possibly, you might not have chosen the best topics about which to write. So don’t rush! You need to be sure that teachers, counselors, parents, and professionals (like the College Essay Whiz) give you some feedback before you press that key!
For other details, take a look at the article: “Pulling an All-Nighter for the College Application”