Looking Ahead

By Ryan Hickey + updated on August 16th, 2010

It’s been several weeks since our last post here at the EssayEdge blog. We’ve been working on some new projects, which will be announced here in the coming weeks. I also took a short, but much needed, vacation. Hey, everyone deserves some time off every now and then!

So to get us back in the swing of things, I’m going to try something a bit different this week. Rather than one or two posts, there will be a new post featured on the EssayEdge blog every single day. As we move toward the busiest time of the year for those who are working on applications, there’s no shortage of things to talk about.

I also want to encourage you to submit any comments or questions you have while reading. As with most things in life, it’s likely that if you’re wondering about something, other people are too. I’d love to base future blog posts on actual reader questions.

Today, I’m going to ease back into posting with a simple message: plan ahead. While this is excellent general life advice, it’s particularly important when it comes to the application process. Why? Because the more organized and prepared you are, the less stressful the process will be.

Now, I’m not saying that planning ahead will make this process completely free of stress. When you’re dealing with something that will have a gigantic impact on your life moving forward, there will inevitably be stress involved. But for many applicants, much of that stress is unnecessary; it’s caused by trying to research schools, fill out paperwork, write essays, and do everything else required on applications with a deadline just days or even hours away.

By planning ahead, you can minimize that type of last-minute stress and instead focus your efforts on excelling at what you are able to control. Look at it this way: would you rather be working to fill your 500-word limit shortly before midnight on the day your application is due, or working on polishing your concluding sentence at that point?

This isn’t rocket science, nor is it anything that hasn’t been said before. But it’s so important that it bears repeating. It’s extremely easy to look at the application process now and say, “Yeah, of course I’m going to plan ahead and stay on top of everything.” As you move into the fall, though, things like school and work may leave you saying, “I’ll start next week.” Before you know it, your deadline could be days away and you could have several essays that haven’t even been started.

So keep that in mind as the summer winds down and application season gears up. And don’t forget to check the blog regularly (and to leave questions or comments whenever you have them) – we’ll be here providing advice to help you write the best essays that you can.

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Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey is Managing Editor of Peterson's & EssayEdge and an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.

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