3 Answers

Jon Semcer Points3610
With colleges offering many admission options from rolling to early decision to regular, it depends on your plan for applying. If you have mix of schools with different admission plans you will need to have an organized calendar. For example, applying to schools with a rolling admission plan ( there is no filing deadline for the application ) the admission office will review applications, make decision -- usually within 5 to 6 weeks after you apply and give you a decision. The admission office will continue to accept applications and you have until May 1 to deposit. My advice is to apply early in the fall as soon as the application is available ( more merit based aid is  available, if you qualify) . For ED and EA there are deadlines --- do not wait until the last week to file--- have the apps and supporting materials in well before the deadline. The same holds due for regular admission, there will be a deadline for filing all supporting materials. Keep a chart or spread sheet of when apps are due and when you asked for letters of recommendations ( be sure to tell your teachers when apps are due) --- my advice ask them before you break for summer vacation and the first week back remind them. Stay on top of everything, do something everyday related to the application and keep good records.
I have always been that lone counselor encouraging students to apply as soon as fall is under way at the start of senior year. Well, maybe not as soon as the school year begins but come October, I am asking students where they are in the application process hopeful that all will be complete between Thanksgiving and early December. If a student is applying as an ED or EA candidate of course they will have specific deadlines to meet which can be anywhere from mid-November through December 1. And then there are those students applying ED 2 which generally carries a deadline of mid-December through early January. Still, there are many, many students that are applying to college as either a regular decision or, rolling admissions candidate. Remember, you want to conduct your college search during junior year perhaps visiting some schools through the summer leading up to senior year. Senior year is the end of a long road, a road which has taken 12 years to complete. Senior year is often for students, that time when they want to really hang out with their friends, relax a bit, enjoying the status of being A SENIOR. At the same time though, grades and activities need to be maintained. In order to keep the grades up and the activities going, one needs to enter grade 12 with their college list in hand. Of course one can continue researching schools and no, if you do not have a list walking into senior year, you are not behind it just makes your life so much easier. So, in response to your question I would say that if applying ED or EA, stick to the deadlines the colleges offer. For regular or rolling decision candidates, I strongly suggest that all materials are submitted by early December so you can begin your winter break, with all your college work, done. Also, you want your colleges to know just how interested you are in attending their school all the more reason, for submitting prior to the winter break. Good Luck!
Students should start applying to colleges at the beginning of their senior year of high school. However, there are many things that need to be done before completing the actual application. The student should start thinking about a college list during the junior year and start visiting schools and attending Open House events and College Fairs. The student should also request letters of recommendation in the late spring of the junior year and start working on required college essays. Doing all of this preparation will make the actual college application completion process go very smoothly and be stress free. Stay calm and work hard! A little early prep will go a long way.

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