Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.com » Answers to Your Questions about College

College Application Deadlines: Make Sure You Meet Them

college application deadlines

College application deadlines are an important part of applying for college. Meeting deadlines is often essential to being considered for colleges at all. While some schools will review applications sent after the deadline, they’ll only accept these students in exceptional circumstances or if their enrollment hasn’t quite filled up for the year.

In most cases, though, you’ll get a better offer from a college if you meet its college application deadlines. You’ll be first in line to receive offers for financial aid and special scholarships based on need or academic achievement. Meeting college application deadlines also allows you to hear back earlier from the schools you have in mind, so you have more time to review the offers, weigh the pros and cons of each school, and make your final choice without feeling pressured.

Meeting college application deadlines starts early in your senior year. Most deadlines are between the first of the year and the middle of February, and you’ll want to try to meet these dates, since they’re often, again, tied to financial aid. Some colleges offer rolling admissions if you want to go for a spring semester instead of a fall semester, for example, but most traditional schools prefer that you come in and get started the fall semester after your senior year.

Make A List Well Before a Deadline

The first thing to do when you’re wondering about college application deadlines is to narrow your list of schools down. It should include schools that you may not be able to get into, schools that you’ll definitely get into, and some that you’re pretty sure you’ll get into. That way, you’ll have a wide range of options to choose from, and you’ll be able to choose the school where you’ll fit in best. Of course, you should always make sure the schools on your list offer the program or programs you’re thinking about majoring in so that you don’t have to transfer down the road!

Check the college’s websites and make a list for each of the application deadlines as well as all the information needed in your application packet. You might also want to write down how much the application fee is, just so you’ll be aware. Check if you need letters of recommendation, a written personal statement or essay, a paper or electronic application, or a transcript. Most applications will include a combination of these things.

Talking to the Right People About Your College Application

One thing about college application deadlines is that they are not like term papers. You can’t leave them until the last minute because they depend on more than just you. You’ll need to talk to your high school office or guidance counselor, for instance, to get copies of your transcript to send out to schools. You’ll have to talk to teachers and coaches about writing you letters of recommendation, and it’s rude to give them less than three or four weeks’ notice on these.

As you’re looking at application materials and deadlines, make a list of people you need to talk to for your application. If your high school has a writing center or if your English teacher is up for the task, you might even want to look at scheduling an appointment to go over your personal statements. They can be really tricky to write on your own!

Put the College Application Deadline on a Calendar

The best thing you can do to keep track of college application deadlines and similar information for school is to put it on a master calendar. Having it in a monthly view will help you take care of tasks well ahead of time. Here are some tips for what to put on your calendar:


  • Check if the college application deadlines are “postmarked by” dates or hard dates for your materials to be in. If they’re “postmarked by,” write them on your calendar one or two days early – just to be safe. If it’s a hard deadline where your application materials need to be in for sure, give yourself at least a week to get things in the mail and to the college admissions office.

  • Give your guidance counselor and other letter-of-reference writers at least a month’s notice, so put a date for speaking with them on the calendar, as well. (Hint: It’s easier for them to write a letter of reference if you provide them with information about the school and program you’re applying to as well as a brief personal resume reminding them of your accomplishments in high school!)

  • Add in deadlines for taking the SAT or ACT. Remember, your scores need to be in by the deadline, so you’ll want to take them early – preferably in the first month or two of school.
    Putting these things on your calendar can help you meet college application deadlines with ease!
College Application Tips [next]

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or