Talking vs. Doing: Tough Love for Procrastinators

A short post for today, but an important reminder this time of year for all the law school procrastinators out there:

Talking about doing something is much easier than actually doing it.

If you've been talking about your applications since September but are only now getting around to writing your first drafts, or you're on draft #27 of an essay you could have submitted weeks ago, that's a sign that you're looking for excuses not to finish your essay and send it out. Some tough love:

  • Stop spending all that time on discussion boards.
  • Stop yakking to your friends and family about your essays ad nauseam.
  • Put your head down and crank out the work.
  • Commit to submitting your applications in the next week.

Plus, wouldn't it be nice to enjoy the holidays without your applications weighing on you?

Here's a reality check: Plenty of applicants have already received acceptances. They are out celebrating and high-fiving while you're still talk-talk-talking and futzing around. With every offer that gets sent out, that's one less offer a school can make to those who haven't yet submitted. At this point in the admissions cycle, you don't have the luxury of dilly-dallying. I know it's scary to send out your applications and put your future into someone else's hands, but too bad. If you want to go to law school, you'll have to own that fear and get past it.

Most importantly: You might be telling yourself that all this hand-wringing will only make your applications stronger. It won't.

And finally, as you work on your drafts, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. There's a real danger that perfectionism and procrastination can join forces to hold you back. Don't let them.

I hope that this dose of tough love helps. Any other advice you'd give to procrastinators? 

Former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and a recovering lawyer, Anna Ivey founded Ivey Consulting to help college, law school, and MBA applicants navigate the admissions process. You can find more admissions tips in The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions. Join the conversation here in the blog comments and on Twitter and Facebook, or email us a new question for the blog.