You know you’re a school counselor if September 15 is more frightening than October 31.
You know how it goes: A bazillion anxious seniors descend on your office clamoring for you to fill out the UW System application completion form and mail their transcripts. “Now!” they shout. “Now!” the parents shout. I salute you for not whimpering and crawling under your desk. (Well, most of you don’t, at any rate….)
Here’s the reality – IT’S OK TO SLOW DOWN! And, yes, you can quote me on that. Back in “the day” – and by that I mean the era of restrictive enrollment management within the UW System – it’s true that there was some urgency for early application. Campuses did close admission, sometimes as early as January (our record at ‘GB was January 18). However, it has been years since UW System schools were closing really early. Many UW campuses this past year were open into the spring and summer months. At GB we closed on May 18 for most freshmen, with the exception of local students.
Please understand, I’m not advocating procrastination here, and there are many good reasons to apply and be admitted to “short list” schools by the winter holidays. It just doesn’t all have to be done on September 15.
Seniors have enough on their plates as the school year starts – as do you. It’s OK to wait until October – and later – to submit an application. Even uber-competitive Madison assures “equal consideration” for all applicants up until February 1.
Now, there’s a caveat here that is very important – at some campuses, some programs have limited enrollment and do close earlier than the general closing date, some have early scholarship deadlines, and some campuses with housing limitations suggest earlier application. So it’s still important that students do their research for the campus and program they are interested in. Rest assured, however, that it will be the exception rather than the rule to find it necessary to rush the application.
At ‘GB we recommend being admitted by the winter holidays so that students can apply for housing in a timely fashion. Our housing is in high demand and we generally go into the summer with a housing waiting list. But, I say it again, October (and November, and most of December) is fine!
It may be too late for the seniors – they’ve probably already beaten down your door. But it’s not too early to start reaching the juniors.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Halloween went back to being the scariest day of the year?