Getting Ahead of the Looming College Application Crisis

December 11, 2023
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At this point in the academic year, seniors planning to go to college are faced with critical decisions and daunting deadlines. While some students have already received letters of acceptance from early decision applications, those who did not are now in a time crunch, faced with an urgency to submit remaining applications that will have a direct impact on their futures. As January and February deadlines hover over students, they bring with them a litany of stress, anxiety, and complex decision-making. And, quite unfortunately, these deadlines fall within or just after most schools’ winter breaks, leaving students without access to school-based support personnel and resources as they navigate these pivotal processes and decisions.  

Use the tips below to proactively support students with their applications over the winter break:

  • Help students get organized: Before students are on break, prompt them to make a list of all applications they plan to submit, the corresponding deadlines, and what is required for each application. This process helps students establish their own to-do lists and timeframes, ensuring that they do not unwittingly miss out on key opportunities. 
  • Share common dates with students and families: For schools that many students in your school or district plan to attend, such as local state schools, share deadlines and application requirements widely. Use social media platforms and emails to communicate information to students and families with increasing urgency as deadlines near.
  • Encourage students to make documentation requests now: Think ahead to help students avoid issues of access over break. Ask them to consider if they need to request transcripts, ask for letters of recommendation, or collect any other school-based documents required for their applications. Consider including information on how students can access this information and make these requests on school websites or within college and career readiness (CCR) platforms.  
  • Invite students to review their essays with educators and counselors: Encourage students to have someone with experience review, edit, and provide feedback on essays before the break. Many teachers and counselors are happy to support this work, but need a few days to ensure they can provide helpful, personalized guidance. 
  • Create opportunities for students to receive application support in January: Identify dates to provide application support for students in early January for remaining applications, just as students return back to school from break, and begin staffing the events. Consider communicating the dates now so students know when support will be available as they work to finalize their applications. Be clear with students, however, that these are only useful for application deadlines that have not already passed.
  • Share information about the FAFSA: This year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has a delayed release date due to major changes to the application aimed at streamlining the process of applying for financial aid. This delay is causing additional stress for seniors and their families as they must wait to apply for financial aid–and learn what assistance is available–much later than usual. Counselors can ease worries by communicating any updates and setting time aside in early January to provide FAFSA-specific training and support.

An Important Final Push 

The culmination of a student’s college and career readiness journey hinges on the submissions of applications. These last steps are significant as they validate many years of hard work, strategic planning, and dedication, encompassing everything from course selection to exploring career paths. As the deadlines near, many students and families find themselves equipped to complete these final steps. Counselors can be pivotal in these moments, ensuring that applications get finalized and submitted on time, aligning students’ hopes for the future with tangible plans and opportunities.

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At this point in the academic year, seniors planning to go to college are faced with critical decisions and daunting deadlines. While some students have already received letters of acceptance from early decision applications, those who did not are now in a time crunch, faced with an urgency to submit remaining applications that will have a direct impact on their futures. As January and February deadlines hover over students, they bring with them a litany of stress, anxiety, and complex decision-making. And, quite unfortunately, these deadlines fall within or just after most schools’ winter breaks, leaving students without access to school-based support personnel and resources as they navigate these pivotal processes and decisions.  

Use the tips below to proactively support students with their applications over the winter break:

  • Help students get organized: Before students are on break, prompt them to make a list of all applications they plan to submit, the corresponding deadlines, and what is required for each application. This process helps students establish their own to-do lists and timeframes, ensuring that they do not unwittingly miss out on key opportunities. 
  • Share common dates with students and families: For schools that many students in your school or district plan to attend, such as local state schools, share deadlines and application requirements widely. Use social media platforms and emails to communicate information to students and families with increasing urgency as deadlines near.
  • Encourage students to make documentation requests now: Think ahead to help students avoid issues of access over break. Ask them to consider if they need to request transcripts, ask for letters of recommendation, or collect any other school-based documents required for their applications. Consider including information on how students can access this information and make these requests on school websites or within college and career readiness (CCR) platforms.  
  • Invite students to review their essays with educators and counselors: Encourage students to have someone with experience review, edit, and provide feedback on essays before the break. Many teachers and counselors are happy to support this work, but need a few days to ensure they can provide helpful, personalized guidance. 
  • Create opportunities for students to receive application support in January: Identify dates to provide application support for students in early January for remaining applications, just as students return back to school from break, and begin staffing the events. Consider communicating the dates now so students know when support will be available as they work to finalize their applications. Be clear with students, however, that these are only useful for application deadlines that have not already passed.
  • Share information about the FAFSA: This year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has a delayed release date due to major changes to the application aimed at streamlining the process of applying for financial aid. This delay is causing additional stress for seniors and their families as they must wait to apply for financial aid–and learn what assistance is available–much later than usual. Counselors can ease worries by communicating any updates and setting time aside in early January to provide FAFSA-specific training and support.

An Important Final Push 

The culmination of a student’s college and career readiness journey hinges on the submissions of applications. These last steps are significant as they validate many years of hard work, strategic planning, and dedication, encompassing everything from course selection to exploring career paths. As the deadlines near, many students and families find themselves equipped to complete these final steps. Counselors can be pivotal in these moments, ensuring that applications get finalized and submitted on time, aligning students’ hopes for the future with tangible plans and opportunities.

At this point in the academic year, seniors planning to go to college are faced with critical decisions and daunting deadlines. While some students have already received letters of acceptance from early decision applications, those who did not are now in a time crunch, faced with an urgency to submit remaining applications that will have a direct impact on their futures. As January and February deadlines hover over students, they bring with them a litany of stress, anxiety, and complex decision-making. And, quite unfortunately, these deadlines fall within or just after most schools’ winter breaks, leaving students without access to school-based support personnel and resources as they navigate these pivotal processes and decisions.  

Use the tips below to proactively support students with their applications over the winter break:

  • Help students get organized: Before students are on break, prompt them to make a list of all applications they plan to submit, the corresponding deadlines, and what is required for each application. This process helps students establish their own to-do lists and timeframes, ensuring that they do not unwittingly miss out on key opportunities. 
  • Share common dates with students and families: For schools that many students in your school or district plan to attend, such as local state schools, share deadlines and application requirements widely. Use social media platforms and emails to communicate information to students and families with increasing urgency as deadlines near.
  • Encourage students to make documentation requests now: Think ahead to help students avoid issues of access over break. Ask them to consider if they need to request transcripts, ask for letters of recommendation, or collect any other school-based documents required for their applications. Consider including information on how students can access this information and make these requests on school websites or within college and career readiness (CCR) platforms.  
  • Invite students to review their essays with educators and counselors: Encourage students to have someone with experience review, edit, and provide feedback on essays before the break. Many teachers and counselors are happy to support this work, but need a few days to ensure they can provide helpful, personalized guidance. 
  • Create opportunities for students to receive application support in January: Identify dates to provide application support for students in early January for remaining applications, just as students return back to school from break, and begin staffing the events. Consider communicating the dates now so students know when support will be available as they work to finalize their applications. Be clear with students, however, that these are only useful for application deadlines that have not already passed.
  • Share information about the FAFSA: This year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has a delayed release date due to major changes to the application aimed at streamlining the process of applying for financial aid. This delay is causing additional stress for seniors and their families as they must wait to apply for financial aid–and learn what assistance is available–much later than usual. Counselors can ease worries by communicating any updates and setting time aside in early January to provide FAFSA-specific training and support.

An Important Final Push 

The culmination of a student’s college and career readiness journey hinges on the submissions of applications. These last steps are significant as they validate many years of hard work, strategic planning, and dedication, encompassing everything from course selection to exploring career paths. As the deadlines near, many students and families find themselves equipped to complete these final steps. Counselors can be pivotal in these moments, ensuring that applications get finalized and submitted on time, aligning students’ hopes for the future with tangible plans and opportunities.

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At this point in the academic year, seniors planning to go to college are faced with critical decisions and daunting deadlines. While some students have already received letters of acceptance from early decision applications, those who did not are now in a time crunch, faced with an urgency to submit remaining applications that will have a direct impact on their futures. As January and February deadlines hover over students, they bring with them a litany of stress, anxiety, and complex decision-making. And, quite unfortunately, these deadlines fall within or just after most schools’ winter breaks, leaving students without access to school-based support personnel and resources as they navigate these pivotal processes and decisions.  

Use the tips below to proactively support students with their applications over the winter break:

  • Help students get organized: Before students are on break, prompt them to make a list of all applications they plan to submit, the corresponding deadlines, and what is required for each application. This process helps students establish their own to-do lists and timeframes, ensuring that they do not unwittingly miss out on key opportunities. 
  • Share common dates with students and families: For schools that many students in your school or district plan to attend, such as local state schools, share deadlines and application requirements widely. Use social media platforms and emails to communicate information to students and families with increasing urgency as deadlines near.
  • Encourage students to make documentation requests now: Think ahead to help students avoid issues of access over break. Ask them to consider if they need to request transcripts, ask for letters of recommendation, or collect any other school-based documents required for their applications. Consider including information on how students can access this information and make these requests on school websites or within college and career readiness (CCR) platforms.  
  • Invite students to review their essays with educators and counselors: Encourage students to have someone with experience review, edit, and provide feedback on essays before the break. Many teachers and counselors are happy to support this work, but need a few days to ensure they can provide helpful, personalized guidance. 
  • Create opportunities for students to receive application support in January: Identify dates to provide application support for students in early January for remaining applications, just as students return back to school from break, and begin staffing the events. Consider communicating the dates now so students know when support will be available as they work to finalize their applications. Be clear with students, however, that these are only useful for application deadlines that have not already passed.
  • Share information about the FAFSA: This year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has a delayed release date due to major changes to the application aimed at streamlining the process of applying for financial aid. This delay is causing additional stress for seniors and their families as they must wait to apply for financial aid–and learn what assistance is available–much later than usual. Counselors can ease worries by communicating any updates and setting time aside in early January to provide FAFSA-specific training and support.

An Important Final Push 

The culmination of a student’s college and career readiness journey hinges on the submissions of applications. These last steps are significant as they validate many years of hard work, strategic planning, and dedication, encompassing everything from course selection to exploring career paths. As the deadlines near, many students and families find themselves equipped to complete these final steps. Counselors can be pivotal in these moments, ensuring that applications get finalized and submitted on time, aligning students’ hopes for the future with tangible plans and opportunities.

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At this point in the academic year, seniors planning to go to college are faced with critical decisions and daunting deadlines. While some students have already received letters of acceptance from early decision applications, those who did not are now in a time crunch, faced with an urgency to submit remaining applications that will have a direct impact on their futures. As January and February deadlines hover over students, they bring with them a litany of stress, anxiety, and complex decision-making. And, quite unfortunately, these deadlines fall within or just after most schools’ winter breaks, leaving students without access to school-based support personnel and resources as they navigate these pivotal processes and decisions.  

Use the tips below to proactively support students with their applications over the winter break:

  • Help students get organized: Before students are on break, prompt them to make a list of all applications they plan to submit, the corresponding deadlines, and what is required for each application. This process helps students establish their own to-do lists and timeframes, ensuring that they do not unwittingly miss out on key opportunities. 
  • Share common dates with students and families: For schools that many students in your school or district plan to attend, such as local state schools, share deadlines and application requirements widely. Use social media platforms and emails to communicate information to students and families with increasing urgency as deadlines near.
  • Encourage students to make documentation requests now: Think ahead to help students avoid issues of access over break. Ask them to consider if they need to request transcripts, ask for letters of recommendation, or collect any other school-based documents required for their applications. Consider including information on how students can access this information and make these requests on school websites or within college and career readiness (CCR) platforms.  
  • Invite students to review their essays with educators and counselors: Encourage students to have someone with experience review, edit, and provide feedback on essays before the break. Many teachers and counselors are happy to support this work, but need a few days to ensure they can provide helpful, personalized guidance. 
  • Create opportunities for students to receive application support in January: Identify dates to provide application support for students in early January for remaining applications, just as students return back to school from break, and begin staffing the events. Consider communicating the dates now so students know when support will be available as they work to finalize their applications. Be clear with students, however, that these are only useful for application deadlines that have not already passed.
  • Share information about the FAFSA: This year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has a delayed release date due to major changes to the application aimed at streamlining the process of applying for financial aid. This delay is causing additional stress for seniors and their families as they must wait to apply for financial aid–and learn what assistance is available–much later than usual. Counselors can ease worries by communicating any updates and setting time aside in early January to provide FAFSA-specific training and support.

An Important Final Push 

The culmination of a student’s college and career readiness journey hinges on the submissions of applications. These last steps are significant as they validate many years of hard work, strategic planning, and dedication, encompassing everything from course selection to exploring career paths. As the deadlines near, many students and families find themselves equipped to complete these final steps. Counselors can be pivotal in these moments, ensuring that applications get finalized and submitted on time, aligning students’ hopes for the future with tangible plans and opportunities.

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At this point in the academic year, seniors planning to go to college are faced with critical decisions and daunting deadlines. While some students have already received letters of acceptance from early decision applications, those who did not are now in a time crunch, faced with an urgency to submit remaining applications that will have a direct impact on their futures. As January and February deadlines hover over students, they bring with them a litany of stress, anxiety, and complex decision-making. And, quite unfortunately, these deadlines fall within or just after most schools’ winter breaks, leaving students without access to school-based support personnel and resources as they navigate these pivotal processes and decisions.  

Use the tips below to proactively support students with their applications over the winter break:

  • Help students get organized: Before students are on break, prompt them to make a list of all applications they plan to submit, the corresponding deadlines, and what is required for each application. This process helps students establish their own to-do lists and timeframes, ensuring that they do not unwittingly miss out on key opportunities. 
  • Share common dates with students and families: For schools that many students in your school or district plan to attend, such as local state schools, share deadlines and application requirements widely. Use social media platforms and emails to communicate information to students and families with increasing urgency as deadlines near.
  • Encourage students to make documentation requests now: Think ahead to help students avoid issues of access over break. Ask them to consider if they need to request transcripts, ask for letters of recommendation, or collect any other school-based documents required for their applications. Consider including information on how students can access this information and make these requests on school websites or within college and career readiness (CCR) platforms.  
  • Invite students to review their essays with educators and counselors: Encourage students to have someone with experience review, edit, and provide feedback on essays before the break. Many teachers and counselors are happy to support this work, but need a few days to ensure they can provide helpful, personalized guidance. 
  • Create opportunities for students to receive application support in January: Identify dates to provide application support for students in early January for remaining applications, just as students return back to school from break, and begin staffing the events. Consider communicating the dates now so students know when support will be available as they work to finalize their applications. Be clear with students, however, that these are only useful for application deadlines that have not already passed.
  • Share information about the FAFSA: This year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has a delayed release date due to major changes to the application aimed at streamlining the process of applying for financial aid. This delay is causing additional stress for seniors and their families as they must wait to apply for financial aid–and learn what assistance is available–much later than usual. Counselors can ease worries by communicating any updates and setting time aside in early January to provide FAFSA-specific training and support.

An Important Final Push 

The culmination of a student’s college and career readiness journey hinges on the submissions of applications. These last steps are significant as they validate many years of hard work, strategic planning, and dedication, encompassing everything from course selection to exploring career paths. As the deadlines near, many students and families find themselves equipped to complete these final steps. Counselors can be pivotal in these moments, ensuring that applications get finalized and submitted on time, aligning students’ hopes for the future with tangible plans and opportunities.