Q: I didn’t apply to any school by the November 1, early action deadline. Guess I’ve blown it, right?

A: No. True, many students apply to college under Early Action or Early Decision. But MOST students apply to MOST schools later. On the one hand, you have missed the advantages of Early Action—where you get an early admissions decision without the obligation to enroll—but on the other you have also avoided the frenzy Early Decision where you have to apply and commit to a school early in your senior year.

Take comfort in the fact that if you have not applied to college yet, it’s because you really didn’t want to. Many students who apply under the “early” programs are sorry later. They really needed extra time to make up their minds. If there were indeed a college that you truly, desperately wanted to enter, you would have applied.

Now you have an extra eight weeks to get things ready. Well, six weeks if you wish to keep yourself un-pressured. Get your applications ready to send by the middle of December. If there is anything you want your counselor or teachers to do for you, ask them now; do not wait until the day before Thanksgiving break. And over the winter break? Don’t even ask. Don’t even think about asking.

If you are counting on this semester’s grades to help you be admitted, you need to devote top effort here. Senior year grades DO count (even the grades of those who apply under Early Action or Early Decision are examined). Do you want your November or December standardized test scores to help you? Then make sure you have told the testing agencies where to send these scores.

Your list should include a variety of schools: competitive, less competitive, public, private, small, and large. If you have any last-minute questions, make an appointment with your college counselor now to discuss your choices. The period between Thanksgiving and winter break will fly past, so get everything ready as soon as you can.