The Climb to the Summit is Always the Most Beautiful, Yet Dangerous

Man On Mountain ImageThe University of California deadline comes to pass at Midnight (U.S) West Coast time, November 30. Plus, a number of highly selective private and flagship public colleges—notable names include the University of Southern California (USC)—have a deadline for Midnight Dec 1. Students and their families scurrying to complete applications within this backdrop are confronted with a sometimes dizzying array of issues, both emotional and technical, as it relates to the application itself. Having invested a lifetime in resources to arrive at this point, the worst thing to happen, would be to now capitulate under the emotional and physical strain, and short cut the admissions process, risking an entire lifelong effort to gain admission to the college(s) of your choice. As you cascade headlong into the deadline, rushing frantically, here and there, to complete the application, let us share the following advice-as well as possible solutions–surrounding key issues that we have confronted not only this year, but in some cases, annually for the past 20–with the goal of reducing stress and increasing the odds that the most competitive application packet possible is submitted, only raising the odds of gaining a conditional admission come March of next year.

  1. Don’t quit on the admissions essay.  Yes, you are tired. You have written draft after draft, desperately trying to answer intimate, complicated questions regarding who you are in relation to the past, present and future. Though you know that you have not written a complete essay, your sub-conscious wants to convince you that it is complete and ready to submit. Family and friends–even favorite teachers–due to the nature of their relationship with you, and no longer wanting to see your suffer, validate your conclusion that the essay is finished, only fueling the false confidence that, if left unchecked by someone more objective, will possibly end badly.
  2. Always have someone, other than the one who filled out the college application, check to see that it was completed correctly. Application errors, if not noticed, can lead, at best, to unnecessary delays in the processing of the application, and in the worst case scenario, being disqualified for admission. It is important to remember that applications, once filled out, are not permanent and, therefore, can, and often are, modified, when, which is more common that most people think, simple, easily explainable errors are made.
  3. The college admissions process is neither the beginning nor end of your life experience. Perspective can help restore and maintain a calm, and thus, concentrated mind that reduces the chance of making mistakes in the first place.
  4. Finally, look to take care of yourself, both during the application process, and immediately after, to prevent further stress to mind and body; possibly negatively affecting you post application submission. It is important to note that all acceptances are conditional. [In other words, one must satisfactorily (C or better grades) complete their Senior year course work–as reported in the college application–and graduate high school, to matriculate at the accepted college in the fall of 2013.]

Students worldwide have worked tirelessly throughout their young lives to position for what comes down to a very hectic last 30 plus days. They have overcome every kind of possible obstacle to get here, and now, nearing the summit of a difficult climb–where mistakes can quickly manifest into tragic results–a calm and concentrated mind is essential. Now is not the time to abandon the rest of the team that got them there in the first place. Students must lean on others, who must be, at times, subjective, and at other times, objective, to support them as they make the final dash to the summit, where they will finally view the great expanse of possibilities that will unfold before them, as the ebb and flow of life continues, as it has for the previous countless generations of youth, who proceeded them up the most magnificent mountain in the quest for knowledge.

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About Art Baird, Founding Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Art melds his passion for acquiring and disseminating knowledge with his decades of experience teaching into straightforward, collaborative advising. His pointed questioning facilitates debate, empowering clients to achieve their vision in education and in life.
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