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  • amyalysaglynn

No, Of Course It's Not "Too Late."

Ahhhh... the lesser-known but horrifying Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse: Comparing Ourselves to Others. The last couple of students who've signed up with me have already commenced with shamefaced hand-wringing and apologetic stories about why they are starting this process "at the last minute."

People, this is NOT the last minute, for starters. It's late September as I write this, and even for the feistiest early decision schools, you still very much have time. The Cal State campuses haven't even OPENED their application portal yet. So let's keep this in perspective. Realistically, you have months for most stuff at this point. There are a few exceptions, so be aware, but don't flog yourself about the stuff you haven't done yet. It's pointless.

1) Don't panic. This process feels very overwhelming to a lot–maybe most–students. This is not like an exam you have to study for. Your subject is YOU, and you are the world's foremost authority on You. Everything you need for this self-expression odyssey, you already have. I promise.

2) Don't apologize. For heaven's sake, it is NOT inconvenient or annoying or a sign that you're a slacker if you didn't start this process in tenth grade, or even July. This is your journey. There is no single right way to do it. For every hyperpants front-loading specialist there is a Grace Under Pressure mastermind who does their best work when the stakes feel higher. (I'm one of them!) Honestly, like most writers, I have the executive function of a hamster. I'm the last person you should apologize to for "taking up my time." I want you to take up my time. Please, take up my time!

3) Don't compare. Your process is unique, because you are. If your water polo teammates are bragging about how they already turned in all their applications and you're dying inside because you haven't even opened the dreaded Common Application? Please ignore those people. They are not you. It doesn't matter what they did or didn't do. Smile and nod and work on your egg-beater, friend. You've totally got this.

DO ask for help if you need it. If you're still in the early phases of the process and need a sounding board, an editor, a parent-buffer or an ad hoc therapist, but you have a pretty solid idea of where you want to apply, you and I might be ideal for each other. The non essay portions of your applications are really straightforward; you can handle them (and honestly if you have not memorized your Social Security number yet, now's a great time; you're going to need it all the time as an adult). I can parachute into your personal statement minefield and help you chart a zero-detonation path to the almighty SUBMIT button. Hit me up.

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