Wednesday’s Parent: Deadlines and College Prep


college prepThe college admission process is all about deadlines. On May 1, students must respond to the colleges they applied to and were offered admission. This date is set in stone. If you don’t respond, your offer of admission will be passed along to a student on the wait list.

If you don’t stay organized, it’s easy to miss any number of critical deadlines. Missing those deadlines could cause dire consequences and change the course of your student’s future. The only solution to surviving the tremendous number of deadlines is to get organized early and stay organized all the way to the end. Here are a few tips to help with each phase of the process:

In the beginning of college prep

The first year of high school is the best time to begin the organization process. Start collecting every report card, every award, every volunteer certificate, and if you really want to be organized, every paper, especially tests. Get a file cabinet strictly designated for college prep and create folders for each category. For a great organization system, check out my Parents Countdown to College Crash Course.

In the middle of college prep

Sophomore and junior year begins test prep. Sophomores often take the PSAT (since that year it’s a true practice test) to prepare for the test that counts during their junior year. For these tests there are registration deadlines and test dates. You can use any number of calendar tools to keep track of deadlines: a wall calendar or an organization app. Using an app like Cozi helps the whole family stay in the loop and remind each other of the deadlines.

At the end of college prep

Senior year is when the most important deadlines kick in: the college applications, scholarship applications, the SAT/ACT tests, the FAFSA and May 1 deposit deadline. These dates are critical because missing even one of them can affect your student’s college admission. Use calendar apps, text messages, wall calendars and to-do lists to make sure you don’t miss them. Some test prep experts suggest you have a backup plan (register for a 2nd test) in case your student gets sick or something unforeseen happens. To avoid waiting until the last minute on any of these tasks, set your own deadline two weeks before the actual one.

We all dread deadlines. Some of us use them (me especially) to get motivated. But you simply can’t wait until the last minute during college prep. Trying to fill out the Common App at 11:59PM the night before it’s due will only lead to stress, mistakes, and sometimes failure to complete. There are no second chances with these deadlines.

Read Wendy’s post: 3 Step Plan to Make Deadlines an Asset 


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

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One Response to “Wednesday’s Parent: Deadlines and College Prep”

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