26 Weeks to College: Week 21

Give Thanks and Make a Final Push!
November 11, 2020

I know you’re tired. It has been a long, hard fall semester. And so you are probably tempted to just plop down on a sofa, celebrate Thanksgiving in whatever way that’s happening in this wacky pandemic year (apologies to those outside the U.S. for whom this is not a national holiday week), and do absolutely nothing on your college applications. 

But I’m here to encourage you to rally for a final push. Use your Thanksgiving holiday for some R&R, but also use it to get every one of your applications done and ready to submit. You’ll be SO glad you did when you get to Winter Break and can truly relax and enjoy having nothing college admissions related to do. Not one thing.

Inspired? Read on and get to work. ☺



  • Check in on all of the applications you’ve submitted and make sure they are complete. Chase down any missing pieces and resolve any problems promptly. See tips on how to resolve problems in Week 20’s post.

  • Finalize the rest of your applications. For tips on finalizing, see Week 16’s post.

  • It’s your last chance to submit any applications that are due by November 30. For tips on submission see Week 17’s post.

  • If you do submit any applications this week, alert your recommenders and your school counselor so they submit the necessary supporting materials and order test score reports to be sent if necessary.

  • Continue working on your financial aid forms. You have probably completed the FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE forms by now. So what’s left are the college-specific financial aid applications and local scholarship applications. Aim to submit these forms within a week of submitting your application to the college.  

  • Respond to any invitations for interviews and interview. See Week 18’s post for tips.


  • Check your email, voicemail, texts, and snail mail for any communications that relate to applying to college. Read them and take whatever action is necessary. See Week 19’s post for tips on how to handle being contacted by colleges.

  • Update your parents about what you’re doing. This regular communication will work wonders in your relationship with your parents during this stress-filled year.


1. Summon your inner get-it-done demon and use the school break to finalize the rest of your applications.  It is so tempting to use the Thanksgiving break as a true break and do nothing related to college applications. But here’s why I encourage you to use it to get the rest of your applications ready to submit:

  • You’ll produce better applications now than if you wait until you’ve heard from your early colleges. Trust me when I say no one, NO ONE, writes an upbeat, positive, winning essay two days after finding out they’ve been deferred or denied at their top pick college. 

  • Winter break is just around the corner and that is a much better time to take a true break. You’ll need it, and you’ll absolutely hate it if you can’t hang out with your friends or family because you’re holed up working frantically on college applications.

Of course, you can and should take some downtime during the break. Just balance that with some intense and focused work on your college applications. 

2. If you have early applications pending, don’t submit other applications unless they are due by November 30. Just because I think you should get your applications ready to submit doesn’t mean I think you SHOULD submit if you have early applications pending and there is time before the deadline. Sure, if you are applying to the University of California or the University of Texas or any other college with a November 30 deadline or to a college with a rolling deadline that does rolling admissions, then you should submit. Otherwise, just hold your applications at the ready and see what happens with your early colleges. If you get into one or more, then you may not want to apply (or may not be allowed to apply, if you are admitted under a binding early decision plan), so no reason to spend your money until you have to!

Hang tough, be fierce, and get it done!

Anna Ivey is one of the founders of Inline. An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the college admissions bible How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.

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