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, enjoy 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 will 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, which is all the more reason for submitting prior to the winter break. Good Luck!