12/04/2013 09:27 pm ET | Updated Feb 03, 2014

Applying to College Well Before Santa Comes? Ho, Ho, Ho!

Well, you made it.

It's December 4th, and all of your applications with December 1st deadlines are in.

It wasn't easy. You had five applications to complete, and that technology glitch at 3am Saturday morning almost threw your submission plans off. You'd spent two hours writing that essay, so it's easy to understand why you were anxious when the Spinning Beach Ball of Death just kept going around and around and around, toying with your college ambitions like a fresh breeze plays with the real thing on a nice day at the beach.

Which reminds me. When was the last time you were at the beach? There was some pretty great weather around the country this weekend. Did you get out at all?

Of course, there were all of those Thanksgiving activities that may have kept you from getting outside. Dinner, the parade, the touch football game. Those were memorable, right?

And speaking of football -- what a weekend for colleges! Michigan going for two against Ohio State, Mizzou holding off A&M, and Auburn coming up with the Best. Finish. Ever. for a second straight week? Man, that was something, wasn't it?


Listen, I give you all the credit in the world for sticking with the applications and seeing them through. You could have packed it in and lost yourself with family and friends, and it isn't easy to keep the long view in mind, sticking to the computer while everyone else is having a great time -- so it's great you reached the finish line for this round of apps.

But now that this is behind you, you might want to try something different for the next college application deadline. January 1st is the next big one, just four weekends away -- and while there's lots to do with family and friends over Thanksgiving, there's even more fun and family and football once school is out.

Here's what I'm thinking. The next three weekends probably don't have a lot going on. High school sports play at night in the winter, and most school clubs are taking it easy between the holidays. Why not set aside two hours every Saturday and Sunday for the next three weekends, and knock out your January 1 applications early?

I know, I know -- you'll have to get up early on a weekend, and seniors don't do that. Except for that Saturday you got up at 6am to finish the homecoming float, or at 7am to run your last cross country meet, or at 7:30am to take the ACT one last time.

Besides, I'm not talking crazy early. Stay in bed until 8am, eat breakfast, then hit the computer at 9am. The Thanksgiving rush fine-tuned your essay skills, and there's a good chance you can take some of the key ideas from those applications and tweak them for the ones that are left. That means two hours Saturday, two hours Sunday, three weekends in a row -- and your last six apps are done by the 22nd. If you think you might miss the rush you get being part of the last minute rush, save your apps for now, then submit them on the 28th -- since you're supposed to read essays twice before sending them, this would be the right thing to do anyway.

There's a lot to be said for being the Student in the Clutch -- just ask Chris Davis -- but it's important to remember what Chris Davis did to be ready to make history last Saturday.

He practiced -- a lot -- when the pressure was off.

Saturday morning, then?