Deadlines: Time Management During School Breaks and Family Vacations

One family just asked if it were alright for their student to take a break from college applications. YES. Please do was my response.

Many students have been running a marathon for years. Some began their college-planning as freshman while others, equally ambitious, began focusing on their post-high school plans when they hit junior year. Regardless of when, most high schoolers are exhausted by the year’s end.

Here are a few tips for meeting deadlines while still enjoying the holidays and vacations:

Color-Code The Calendar

Most every student I’ve coached loves coloring their calendar. It’s reminiscent of being little when they used to shade between the lines with their trusty analog Crayola boxes. Choosing colors that represent Worktime and Playtime, I urge students to block out hours on their calendars where they each focus, socialize and most importantly relax.

Read on the Break

Students often get inspired to write after reading a good book. School breaks are a perfect time to switch up genres: take a historical fiction novel off the shelf, download a fantasy on a Kindle or listen on Audible to a memoir while traveling. The language and cadence of the narratives often ignite thoughts that become fodder for Common App Essays.

Take a Break: Sleep

This seems obvious: teenagers don’t get enough zzzzzzzzz’s. I’ve seen students who are well-rested chug through both schoolwork and applications much more efficiently – and happily – than their sleep-deprived peers. I recently told a senior to make their bedroom as dark and quiet as possible, leave tech at the door and invent their own bedtime stories to put themselves to sleep. With their head on the pillow, this student ended up writing their Common App in their head, in between counting sheep.

Bottomline: take organized, mindful time away from work during the break to allow for both ideation and communion with loved ones. Both are inspirational and needed.

Enjoy and (gently) indulge during this holiday season!

For more information about College Counseling/Essay Coaching, please drop me a line at or give me a holler at 917-863-2424. Also, for “news you can use,” please check out my blog, videos, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.