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With 2013 here, all of you high school seniors out there have something else to look forward to—regular admissions deadline for college applications! Most colleges have deadlines between January 15 and February 1. Let’s face it—baking cookies and spending time with family during the holiday season sound way more appealing than sitting in front of a computer finishing college applications, but now is actually prime time for getting it all done! When I was applying for college, I made sure to balance fun with work during my week off from school in between Christmas and New Year’s. And all that hard work paid off!
Here are some tips for making of the most of your winter break while making the college application season a little cheerier, too:
Recruit your family. This time of year generally means spending time with family. In between appetizers and the main course, consider asking a few family members you trust to read over your college application essay. Ask them to read for flow, style, content, and grammar. Having an audience is important for receiving feedback—just don’t ask them on full stomachs after a big meal. They may just want to fall asleep!
Don’t just rely on Spell Check. Now is the time to focus on fine-tuning your application. Admissions office readers want everything to be spotless; even one spelling error or lack of period at the end of a sentence can come across as lazy. Spell check can be your friend, but it can miss homophones and other tricky words. If you are traveling during this holiday season, consider taking the time to print, read over, and edit your application in the car or on the plane.
Take a break. Build a snowman. Go ice skating. Have a game night with your equally stressed-out senior friends. Spend time with family. Shut down your computer for a few days if you have to. You are on break for a reason, after all!
Follow up on letters of recommendation. When school starts again, ask your teachers and whoever else wrote you letters of recommendation if they have submitted them on your behalf (if they are submitting them electronically, that is). Then, write them thank you notes for their generosity! Teachers especially write a ton of letters each year for high school seniors—I even had a teacher who had a flash drive devoted solely to letters of recommendation.
Be proud of yourself! Filling out college applications takes a lot of work. So when you take a few deep breaths and press the “Submit” button, just know that you are going to be just fine.