Procrastinators: The Time is Now!

John Carpenter is back this month to commiserate with those students who are at heart procrastinators. In other words, those students who have not completed their applications yet. Read on to share the insights of a fellow travel in procrastination land and get inspired. Regardless of your disposition, the time is now!

It’s the holidays.  You’re on break.  Time to sleep in every single day if you want.  And if you’re like many high school students, you still have some work to do on finishing college applications.  I get it—I procrastinate, too, and it’s not as bad as everyone says it is.  But there are some real advantages to getting things done early, and of course, those of you who are FINISHED and have submitted applications know this already.  But this post is not for you. 

For you, those who get everything done ahead of time, congratulations.  We procrastinators wish we were more like you, but we’re not.  We try.  And sometimes we even get better, but the truth is that many of us will always put things off to the very end.

So, if you’re one of those finally getting around to getting your apps finished, good for you. 

This is your time to soar.  What I mean by that is that many of the daily distractions of school are temporarily on hold, and you’re free to fly.  Free to write anything you want.  Free to craft and change and rearrange your activities list.  Free to choose which supplements you’ll do and which ones you won’t.  Free to stay up all night if that’s your style and crank out some awesome work. 

Some kids tell me they do their best work at the last minute.  And I believe them.  However, some kids just use that phrase as an excuse not to plan well, and it’s pretty obvious when you see their last-minute efforts.  But you’re not like that.  No, you really DO your best work at the last minute, so here you are.  It’s the last minute.  Show the colleges what you’re made of.

Find a buddy to support you now—someone to consult with who has the same freedom you do.  It’s probably not going to be your college counselor or one of your teachers.  Those tired people are enjoying some time without you—either catching up on all the applications they need to submit before January 1, or actually taking a well-deserved break.  No, what you need is someone who can encourage you, keep you going, and maybe even proofread for you.  Someone to make you cookies.

And now that you’re here, at the very end, lean into it.  Embrace the energy that surrounds this last-minute effort.  Forget all the negative voices that ask why you waited until the last minute.  Forget all the criticism for putting things off.  It’s too late for that now, and it will only slow you down.  Right now, you need to focus on one thing:  getting done.  No, not just getting done.  You need to focus on nailing those applications and essays and supplements.  You need to power forward and produce the amazingly excellent work that you know you can.  So, loosen up, find your focus, and go for it. 

I’m right here cheering you on.


John Carpenter is Director of Admissions and University Counseling at UWC Costa Rica. He also works as an independent college counselor and is the author of Going Geek: What Every Smart Kid (and Every Smart Parent) Should Know About College AdmissionsYou can find John's blog at

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