It’s the eve of your early application deadline, and you’re starting to panic (okay, let’s be honest–you’ve been panicking since August). But now the reality of getting ready to finally hit the “submit” button is beginning to set in, and you might be wondering how you can maximize these final days and hours in order to put your best foot forward when the clock strikes midnight and time’s up. Luckily, we’ve put together a list that can help you determine where and how to spend your time most effectively during this final push.

Read your essays out loud
Ideally, this was part of your editing process all along, but it’s a great idea to give your essays one final read-over to check for style and clarity. Oftentimes, while reading an essay out loud we can pick up on awkward phrases or clunky transitions that we would miss during a routine perusal of our work. For this to have maximum impact, be sure to read slowly and clearly, as if you were actually presenting for an audience.

Ask a friend
Ask a trusted friend or parent to double-check that your responses to essay questions fully address all the components of each prompt. This is such a fundamental task that it can get lost in the shuffle of stylistic revisions and frequent trips to the thesaurus, but it’s absolutely critical. If your responses veer off-track at any point, chances are, they’ll be able to tell.

Triple-check all formatting
The Common App is not very user-friendly as a word processor. You’ll need to triple-check that paragraphs are indented properly, quotation marks are used when needed (the website won’t allow you to underline or bold text), etc. It is worth printing out your application in its entirety so that you can see how admissions officers will actually view it.

Confirm school names
Make sure that you don’t write about how Columbia University is the perfect fit for you in your “Why Duke?” essay. Enough said.

Sit back and relax
While it’s true that Regular Decision apps are still lurking on the horizon, be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far. Don’t be afraid to even give yourself a little bit of a break. You’ll be able to return to your other applications with renewed vigor and purpose.

 

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