Thanksgiving Weekend Crunch: A Minute-By-Minute Timeline To Complete Your College Application

Author and Admissions Expert Outlines How to Finish The College App and Enjoy the Holiday

Nov 20, 2015, 13:03 ET from Stef Mauler from ,The Mauler Institute from

DALLAS, Nov. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With college deadlines just around the corner, don't tire out on turkey. Use the Thanksgiving holiday to finish up college applications. Even if high school seniors haven't started, there is still time.

Working on college applications over Thanksgiving break may seem tedious and daunting; there is a solution. Stef Mauler, independent education consultant, admissions expert and author of The Complete Candidate, has created a detailed minute-by-minute schedule to help students navigate the college application puzzle over the Thanksgiving weekend. It even sets aside time to enjoy family, food and watch football.

What exactly should high school seniors be doing over Thanksgiving to perfect their applications? Though tempting to jump to the essays to cross this big item off of the "to do" list, take a step back. The most important part of the college application is the student's admissions strategy.

Begin by working on a Unique Value Proposition. This 2-3 sentence "hook" should summarize the student's unique blend of talents, interests, and skills. What should colleges know about the student? 

"Think about what you have to offer your dream college and what differentiates you from other candidates. Don't be vague and don't be boring," Mauler says. "Do you have a love for marine biology? Are you passionate about a favorite charity or are you a competitive flutist? Do you want to study international relations and work for the UN? This is what colleges want to know, so tell them."

The transcript and test scores will tell schools what type of a student he/she is and where his/her academic interests lie. Does the student challenge himself/herself with more advanced classes and how does the student perform in those classes? 

Next, the activity list and resume will exhibit how students spend time outside of class and how they could contribute to the college community. Will the student start a new club or lead the school newspaper? 

If colleges require recommendations, those should validate what's been said thus far and add more color about the student's character and personal qualities. Help recommenders get them in on time by giving them an information packet which includes the student's resume, GPA, and a summary of how he/she distinguished himself/herself in that class or community.

Only now should students get to the essays. Focus on what sets the student apart.

"Think about an experience that has challenged you and discuss what you learned from that experience. A solid college essay takes 5 drafts before it is ready to submit, regardless of how strong a writer you are. Brainstorm your essay topic and work on a draft daily. By the end of the weekend, you should be prepared to submit a great college application," said Mauler.       

"The deadline is almost here but don't give up. Dedicate the time to your application over the Thanksgiving weekend and you will be stress free by winter break," Mauler concluded. 

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For a timeline on how high schoolers can finish their college applications over Thanksgiving:
The Complete Candidate Thanksgiving Application Timeline

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About The Mauler Institute, The Complete Candidate, and Stef Mauler

The Mauler Institute ( is an independent college admissions consulting firm that offers products and services to help students find and earn admission to the best colleges for them. Products and services include The Complete Candidate™ college admission system, individual consulting for students in 8th through 12th grades, workshops, campus visit packages.

The Complete Candidate™ ( is the only comprehensive, step-by-step system for solving the college admissions puzzle. It delivers a completed Common Application™, powerful essays with 2nd order insights, individualized unique value proposition, Ivy League interview techniques, personalized admissions strategy, compelling recommendations, persuasive academic resume and colleges specific to the student's learning style.

Stef Mauler began working in Ivy League admissions over 20 years ago and has acted an alumni interviewer for both Harvard and University of Pennsylvania.  She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a BA from University of Pennsylvania and a graduate certificate in College Counseling from UC San Diego.  She is a member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA).


SOURCE Stef Mauler; The Mauler Institute; The Complete Candidate