If you’re applying for colleges, you probably have a lot of questions. When are college applications due? When do college decisions come out? How can I optimize my application? Your college application deadlines will depend on your application type and other factors such as your program and college.
No matter what post-secondary institution you’re applying for, you should make sure you know the timeline for admission decisions. Read the guide below for college application deadlines and tips for your college application. As long as you meet the academic requirements and apply on time, you can get accepted into a good college.
When to Apply for Colleges
Most important dates for college applications will be in the fall season before you would start your first year. Some college application deadlines are earlier than this, like the Common App, which opens on August 1st. However, students can create an account anytime during the year, so you have plenty of time to prepare.
Many universities offer admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who submit an early application for admission have a better chance of getting in, so give yourself ample time. If you apply early, you might hear back from a school early, and you can have additional time to apply to other schools if you get rejected.
If you are a high school senior, you should start applying at the beginning of your senior year. Many people start in the 11th grade because the college application process can be lengthy. According to Statista, in 2020, there were nearly 19 million college students in the United States. You should start early so you can stand out from the crowd and get an admission decision quickly.
You should also think about financial aid when you start your admission application. You should fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, many colleges have different deadlines for scholarship applications. Your college experience will be much smoother if you keep track of application timelines.
How to Submit Applications to Colleges
There are multiple ways to apply to colleges, but most colleges follow the same application route. You will have to fill out an online application first. Then you can submit your official transcript, application essays, recommendation letter, and SAT or ACT scores.
Before you apply to a certain college, you should research the application process. Although the application procedure is similar, the process can vary. Some colleges accept applications through Common App, and others will require you to take extra steps. Read a detailed explanation below of how to apply to colleges.
The Common App
The Common Application is an online application that you can use to apply to many different schools. You can upload your list of documents to one place, which can save you time with your admission application. Once you create your Common App profile, you can upload information about your academic background and hobbies, as well as your test scores and grades.
Whether you are a first-time or transfer applicant, you should use Common App to apply. It lets you explore degree programs from over 1,000 colleges and universities in the US. This list of schools can help you narrow down your choices. It also has resources for everyone from freshman applicants to transfer students.
Apply Directly to the School
Some colleges don’t use Common App, but don’t let this affect your college choices. In this case, you will have to fill out an individual application form, which is usually available online. Similar to Common App, you will usually have to submit your high school diploma and other academic materials. You also might have to include letters of recommendation and application essays.
Applying directly to the school is sometimes a good idea because you can access priority deadlines and speak with your academic department. The admission requirements can vary, and so can the college application deadlines. You can start exploring the process and learning about financial aid options by talking to your admission counselor.
When Are College Applications Due?
College applications are due in the fall and winter before you would start your freshman year. This varies depending on the school and application type. The early action deadline and regular decision deadline will be different.
The Common App opens on August 1st, so you don’t have to worry about it before then. However, it is a good idea to start writing essays and making recommendation requests as early as possible. You can also give yourself time to get your grades up so your academic history looks as strong as possible.
5 Types of College Application Deadlines
Most colleges in the US have multiple deadlines, which can be confusing. A university typically has five main application deadlines, though this varies depending on the school and the program. Before you apply, make sure you’re familiar with the deadlines that are most relevant to you. Read below to learn about the five types of college application deadlines.
Regular decision is the most common deadline in the application process. The application deadline for regular decisions varies by school, and you can find it on your college’s application portal. Students can usually apply for fall application until January or February. After that, you will usually receive an admission decision by early April.
Some colleges allow students to submit applications as early as November for fall admission. In this case, you will receive the admission results by the end of December. However, unlike regular decisions, early decisions are binding. This means once you apply, you are agreeing to enroll if you get in. You should only apply for early decision if you’re sure you want to attend.
Early action is another early application deadline, but it is not binding, which makes it a safer choice. Applications for early action are due by November, and the results are announced by December. Like other applications, you will need to submit your official test scores, secondary school graduation diploma, and other original documents.
Schools that offer rolling admission accept applications throughout the year. Many online colleges offer this option, and in many cases, you can start your courses many times throughout the year. This means you don’t have to worry about application deadlines or priority deadlines at all.
Single-Choice Early Action
Single-choice early action, also known as SCEA, is an application option that is only offered by private schools, and it is a non-binding application. However, if you choose SCEA for one private school, you can’t apply to any others. In most cases, you can still apply to public universities. Some schools that offer single-choice early action are Princeton University and Yale University.
When Are Application Deadlines for Colleges? Popular University Deadlines
The table below presents the college application deadlines for popular colleges and universities in the US. Take note of the schools that interest you and write down the deadlines. This will help make the application enrollment process much smoother for part-time and full-time students alike. Keep in mind that these dates can vary year by year.
|College||Early Decision||Regular Decision|
|Boston University||November 1||January 4|
|Brown University||November 1||January 5|
|Columbia University||November 1||January 1|
|Cornell University||November 1||January 2|
|Duke University||November 1||January 3|
|Harvard University||November 1 (Early Action)||January 1|
|Johns Hopkins University||November 1||January 3|
|Stanford University||November 1 (Restrictive Early Action)||January 5|
|University of California, Berkeley||N/A||November 30|
|Yale University||November 1 (Single-Choice Early Action)||January 2|
College Application Deadlines for Popular Online Colleges
The table below presents the application deadlines for online colleges and universities in the US. Online college is a popular choice for any academic level, and the dates of enrollment are usually more flexible. Read below to learn about online college application deadlines. All deadlines below refer to fall semester admission.
|College||Early Decision||Regular Decision|
|Arizona State University||November 1 (Priority Admission)||January 15|
|Florida International University||N/A||Rolling Admission|
|Kennesaw State University||October 31 (Priority Deadline)||June 30|
|Liberty University||N/A||Rolling Admission|
|Pennsylvania State University-World Campus||N/A||June 30|
|University of Central Florida||N/A||May 1|
|University of Maryland Global Campus||N/A||August 16|
|University of Massachusetts Global||N/A||August 15 (Fall 1), October 10 (Fall 2)|
|Saint Louis University||November 1||March 16|
|Southern New Hampshire University||N/A||Rolling Admission|
Other Deadlines to Consider When Applying for College
The Common Application Deadline
The Common Application (Common App) form typically opens on August 1, so you can start filling it out before regular admission is due in January. Most schools will have their own set of specific application materials to accompany Common App. Letters of recommendation, an official transcript, and foreign language tests are all common requirements.
College Transfer Application Deadline
Transfer applications are usually due later than regular freshman applications. These are due sometime in the early spring for the fall semester and late fall for the spring semester. In most cases, you will need two academic evaluations from college professors or instructors or other forms of proof of your academic merit.
Financial Aid Application Deadline
You have to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, each school year to qualify for a financial aid package. This can include need-based grants, institutional scholarships, federal work-study programs, and federal student loans.
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According to the official Federal Student Aid website, over 17 million students applied for FAFSA between 2019 and 2021. Regardless of your financial situation, you should complete your FAFSA. There are many types of grants and selective programs you can access with FAFSA.
May 1 is usually the scholarship deadline date for many colleges and universities, but you should check your school’s deadline just in case. The types of grants and scholarships with the largest awards usually have the earliest deadlines, so it is important to look at those dates in advance.
Sending in your test scores early shows colleges that you are an interested applicant. Your test scores are an important part of your admission decision, so make sure you’re aware of test deadlines. If you decide to take the SAT on a weekend, you can send four free score reports to colleges and scholarship programs, so this is a good choice if you want to avoid fees.
When Do College Decisions Come Out?
College decisions usually come out in March and April. If you apply for early action or early decision, you could hear from your college of choice in January, but this depends on the school. The time it takes to hear from evaluation services depends on the time you applied and whether you applied for financial aid.
What Happens If I Miss a College Deadline?
If you miss a college deadline, you can still get into a college, but you will have to communicate with the admissions office. If you have a provable reason for missing your deadline, you might be able to apply late. In most cases, though, late applicants will miss out on resources like financial aid and housing. Apply early to make sure your application gets priority filing.
When Are Most College Deadlines for Application?
Most college deadlines for application are on or around January 1. The early decision deadline is usually November 1. If you apply for an online college or a college with rolling admissions, the college application deadlines can vary drastically. It is always the best choice to prepare your application early so you can get into your dream school.
College Application Deadlines FAQ
You should start applying for fall 2023 admission in August 2022. Explore the universities you wish to attend and create an online account with Common App. While you wait for the application to open, you can gather important materials and official documents.
You should start applying for fall 2022 admissions in the winter of 2021, so it is too late. Most college applications open around a year before the fall semester begins. However, you can still talk to the admission counselor of your chosen university. In some cases, you can apply late and still get into your program of choice.
Yes, submitting your application ahead of the deadline improves your chances of admission, especially if you apply for early decision or early action. Universities usually announce early admission decisions even before the regular admissions are closed.
The deadline for most college applications is the first week of January. Popular colleges like Columbia University and Harvard University accept applications until January 1. However, some schools, like Florida International University and Southern New Hampshire University, have rolling admissions, which means you can apply at any time.
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