I just returned from a cross-country trip to visit colleges with my daughter, who’s a rising senior. It was a great trip– informative and enlightening, plus a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time with her. We visited so many schools we joked that we should have made tour t-shirts– seven “official” tours and two visits on our own. According to my phone, we averaged over 6 miles walking and 19,000 steps each day of the trip. That probably was not enough to make up for the deep dish pizza and donut ice cream sandwich (yes, that’s a real thing) we ate in Chicago, but both of those were more than worth it!

Amid mind-numbing discussions of holistic application review, repeated mentions of intramural Quidditch teams, multiple claims to being the inspiration behind Pitch Perfect, and numerous variations on the theme of “rules you need to follow when you paint the [rock/cannon/insert item that gets painted by students on our campus],” one point stood out and needs to be repeated here, now:

Many colleges have earlier application deadlines for students applying for merit aid. Rising seniors, make sure to review the details on merit aid applications for all the schools you intend to apply to. And of course, be sure you know your high school’s deadlines to request recommendation letters so that you don’t miss out on institutional grants.