Celebrate Your Submission

Yes. I have heard you get better traction on posts if you have a title that includes “Tips” “Top” or something inflammatory. Yes. I know at best this title sounds paradoxical and at worst—actually, not sure what worst would be. Something really dark, I’m sure.

Good news- that’s not this blog. In fact, my hope is it’s the flipside of dark.

On Sunday night, along with my colleague, friend, and co-author Brennan Barnard, I submitted the updated manuscript of our book to publish a second edition.  I’m not going to lie, it was a heavier lift than either of us expected.

Originally, when we discussed the project, it sounded easy. We had a solid base. This would just be making some additions, particularly since the first book was published just six months before the world stopped… aka March 2020.

Yea- we’ll talk about the rise of test optional, the virtual visit world, changes to yield prediction, and the new and shifting ways colleges are recruiting students in 2022 and beyond. No problem.  But I sort of forgot about the fact that I also have a full-time job, a wife and two kids, other responsibilities in my community and around campus, and a constant desire to add or change “just one more thing.”

So, after a few months of periodic work on the book, I stayed up way too many nights recently until 1 a.m. editing, revising, snacking, re-thinking, and sometimes just straight procrastinating. Ultimately, however, as I’ve written in this blog before, deadline means DEADline, so Sunday night we finally hit submit. Done.

If you recently applied to college via an EA or ED deadline, I’m guessing this sounds familiar, particularly the snacking and procrastination part. Personally, I’ll put in a plug for Reese’s Pieces, salted almonds, and in a pinch, Fritos, but I’m always up for a good gas station run, so if you have suggestions, hit us up @gtadmission on your favorite social media channel.

My point, friends, is that when you originally started your application earlier this fall or summer, I’m guessing you also were like, Yea, I got this. Street address, date of birth, full name. Scoop of chocolate, scoop of vanilla.

And then you ran into the essay; the various supplemental questions for multiple colleges; the mental gymnastics of whether or not to use the Additional Information section; and of course, the always enjoyable consternation about whether or not to send test scores to each of the schools you are considering. Several hundred (thousand?) calories and dozens of hours killed later, you finally hit SAVE for the last time—and then—SUBMIT.

Here’s What I Don’t Know

I don’t know if people are going to love the new book. My guess is a few people will say the Hamilton metaphor doesn’t work or that the Jessie J lyrics seem forced.

I don’t know who else may publish books about college admission in the same timeframe. Last time a flurry of other books came out around the same time. Different angles, different strengths, and different audiences.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the world in the year ahead as this publishes. Did not have my money down on a global pandemic last time, I can tell you that.

Same Same

I don’t know how your essay is going to “read” in different admission offices on that particular day with a certain admission committee. Maybe they’ll love it. Maybe not.

I don’t know which students or exactly how many applicants are going to apply to the places you applied to this year. Over the last two years, Tech has received 10,000 additional applications- from 40k to 50k. Admit rates change, institutional priorities shift, etc.

And I don’t know what’s going to happen in your life or the lives of people around  you that may dictate how you weigh your decisions or make choices about where you will ultimately go to college next year.

Here’s what I do know

I do know applying to college is a big deal.

I do know you have worked hard academically in high school and contributed significantly to your family, school, and community over the last few years.

I do know you spent the last few weeks editing, revising, proofing… and snacking, of course.

I do know the world spins way too fast. And because of that fact, we need to be intentional about hitting pause and recognizing our wins.

I do know as humans we are prone to focus more on the things that go wrong or we are worried about, and that too quickly we move on to “the next thing.”

Celebrate Your Submission

And that leads us back to the weird title. Celebrate your submission! Some of you finally hit submit after all of that work and then just went to bed, woke up in the morning and ate your cereal like it was any other day. Others of you checked the clock on November 1 and thought, “Oh, good- it’s only 11:54 p.m”.…waited 5 mins and then hit submit (Yea, I see you. Hope you enjoyed Halloween!)

Come on, people! Where is the fun?! Where is the appreciation, the satisfaction, and the other tions?

When we turned in the manuscript, I walked out of the room, kissed my wife, cracked open a… LaCroix… (come on, folks, this is a PG blog), and then got on Amazon and ordered a pair of shoes I’d been wanting. You do you and I’ll…. wake up the next day and eat a huge plate of French Toast!!  (Look, let’s not get all judgy about other people’s celebrations.)

Yes. I realize you have not been admitted yet. I realize this is just submitting applications. BUT it’s a big deal. A BIG DEAL. So don’t drop the ball here. CELEBRATE. You put in a ton of work to get to this point. Good on you. When you get in, we’ll go next level on the celebration, but don’t go flying past this stage.

So, to recap: send us snack recs, creative procrastination techniques, and submission celebrations!

Proud of you. Seriously. Proud. Of.  YOU!!

Author: Rick Clark

Rick Clark is the Executive Director of Strategic Student Access at Georgia Tech. He has served on a number of national advisory and governing boards at the state, regional, and national level. Rick travels annually to U.S. embassies through the Department of State to discuss the admission process and landscape of higher education. He is the co-author of the book The Truth about College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together, and a companion workbook published under the same title. A native of Atlanta, he earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.Ed. from Georgia State University. Prior to coming to Tech, Rick was on the admissions staff at Georgia State, The McCallie School and Wake Forest University. @clark2college