Opinion: Word Counts and Procrastination


Knight Crier

The clock ticks…procrastination is… well… I’ll get a caption for this photo later.

It’s 11:59 on November 1st and there you are, sweating, praying your wifi doesn’t cut out. The past week of nonstop ideas, drafts, deleted paragraphs, the addition of hyphens, Ctrl+Shift+C, and then the final draft is catching up to you. You question why you put off such important things till the last minute. You vow never to do it again, however, you put off that vocab homework for tomorrow already.

Deadlines grow exponentially faster. The English paper or that pesky little lab that’s due at the end of 2 weeks may not seem of concern, so you put it off and off. However,  as you progress through the week, the deadline comes faster, faster, and then BAM! it is right in front of you. 

Procrastination: this phenomenon can be applied to roughly 86 percent of High school students as reported by Magoosh. The reason why students “procrastinate on assignments,” according to social psychologists, is because of the irrational “fear of failure” and “confusion about the first steps of an assignment.” This roots procrastination in perfectionism, poor communication, or both. We have all thought it before, “Ah, I’m too tired so even if I do it now, it won’t be adequate. I’ll just wait until I am in the right state of mind.” This mindset was even further reinforced by the advent of Covid-19 and the effects it had on the motivation of students to participate in school academics. 

How does this relate to College Applications, you may ask? Well, the obvious answer may be to talk about the Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision deadlines. However, talking about the deadlines themselves doesn’t make sense, but rather looking at the intricate and complex processes of the common application itself and how procrastination affects the process would be much more impactful.

Experts’ advice to current juniors? Make sure you prioritize the essays first. One of the largest reasons why students put off the common application is because of the sheer amount of background information one has to input into the application. Family history, parent’s educational history, current familial status, income, tax forms, etc. These small petty items prevent students from moving on to the big ticket items: Common App Essay, Why X School essays, and Supplemental Essays. 

Complacency and underestimation are all components of procrastination that will cause someone to scramble at the last minute and not give their best work. Word Counts. Everybody makes the same mistake. 250 Words? 500? “I guess I’ll do it when I have time.” The essays are how one speaks to the application officer. They want one’s best work, something that encapsulates one’s person. 

Procrastination prevents that to a significant degree. Telling someone to not procrastinate is ineffective. Therefore, encouraging and informing students about the effects of procrastination and its detrimental effects should not be overlooked.