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Updated with 2018-2019 dates

In less than two weeks, the annual admissions calendar hits one of its milestone moments—not quite a “holiday” but as close as it gets in this realm—as the application deadline arrives the day after January 1 (aka New Year’s Day to those not focused on all-things-admissions). Something tells me the date is highlighted on many calendars…

For many, December means “happy holidays” as folks celebrate Hanukkah (eight nights), Christmas (a whole “season” but let’s quantify it as 12 days per Christian tradition and a certain carol many people know), Kwanzaa (a week) or the aforementioned arrival of the new year (one day plus the night preceding it). Since gifts are common for most of these holidays (as are the returns shortly after opening them…), here’s a deanly gift at this penultimate moment of the application process. I am gifting some advice.

My offering requires a bit of math (or maths, if you’re outside the US). I’m an admissions dean and admissions deans like numbers: we add things up, we calculate averages, and we use those stats to model our work. So, let’s bring some admissions-y arithmetic to the holidays that crowd December’s calendar: the eight nights of Hanukkah, 12 drummers drumming for Christmas, seven days of Kwanzaa and 1.5 days of Baby New Year revelry create an ecumenical mean of 7.125 holidays. (I’m finding a nerdy satisfaction in distilling “the holidays” down to roughly a week.)

I’ll grab that data point and offer 7.125 admissions tips to guide you towards the “submit” button.  Gift-wrapping is not included nor are these tips redeemable for store credit; none can be characterized as a stocking stuffer. Each is a tiny pearl of wisdom for those of you still working on an application as the calendar races towards the finish line.

In somewhat random order:


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