Wednesday’s Parent: 3 step plan to make deadlines an asset

3 step plan to make deadlines a plus. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

3 step plan to make deadlines a plus. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Deadlines are like a black cloud hanging over my head ready to rain on my parade. They cause me stress and anxiety. Missed deadlines in the college process can mean much worse, like loss of admission and funds to help pay for college. Using my fave phrase, making lemonade from lemons, I’ve come up with a way to make deadlines an asset instead of a liability.

I’ve timed this post in conjunction with the May 1 ubiquitous college decision day for admitted students but the plan applies for all students and their parents. Accepted students have to let colleges know if they are accepting admission offers or not, send in housing deposits, take college placement tests, and be ready for Move-In Day, Family Visit Days, etc. College-bound families have admission, financial aid, scholarship, and standardized test registration and test deadlines. Whatever stage in the college process you are, here is my three step plan to make deadlines an asset:

First, know your deadlines. Take out a calendar and plot them all. Add school, extracurricular and personal activities and events. Don’t get overwhelmed with a full calendar yet. It’s good to know the facts now than be unpleasantly surprised later. Besides, you are just getting started.

Second, prioritize needs over wants. Knowing the difference is essential when choosing between conflicting events and helps time manage preparation plans for what is left on the to-do list. Maybe it’s because I hate stress, but I believe it’s a benefit to be realistic about what can get done from the start than spread myself too thin so circumstances, not me, determine what is and isn’t finished. When extra time pops up, a crossed out event can always be added later.

Third, go back to the calendar and back track. Take each deadline, not event, and rewrite the deadline a few days ahead of schedule. That way you are planning on finishing before the actual due date and providing a just in case advantage buffer. Break each task down into smaller steps and block out time in your schedule to work on them. The earlier you start, the more flexibility you give yourself.

The revised list can be used as both a motivator and a reason to celebrate when an item is completed. Deadlines become the best assets when they have passed successfully. Reward yourself with some fun after meeting each one. You deserve it!!!

Read Suzanne’s post: Deadlines and College Prep

READ more:

Scholarship Mom Alert: Meet May deadlines for these scholarships

Here’s the dish on college deadlines


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.