College Planning: Application Deadlines Matter
BY: Brent Landrum
- Early admission application deadline
- Regular admission application deadline
- Early Decision applications are “binding,” which means a student who applies for Early Decision must commit to attend that college if accepted.
- Early Action applications are “nonbinding,” which means the student simply receives an early response to their application—often relieving some stress—but the student does not have to commit or make a decision about whether or not to attend that school until the normal reply date (usually May 1).
The Basics: College Applications 101
When Should I Apply?
- The sooner the better! Colleges and universities typically review applications as they come in. So being on top of your game can benefit the student.
- Applications now available. Applications, on average, are available to begin filling out September 1. These applications are for the following school year. (A September 1, 2018 application is for the 2019-2020 school year.)
- Check deadlines for your specific school(s). The latest you can submit an application is on or around the 23rd of August for the current school year. This date could vary depending on the school so be sure to check their website. UW-Madison, for example, has a regular application deadline of February 1st, so don’t delay.
What Do I need for My Application?
- The application. This can be found on either the state education website for state schools or the individual school’s website.
- Application fee. Schools won’t process an application without this, so don’t forget to pay!
- Official transcripts. These can be obtained from your current school. They can further address their process and what you need to do. Many schools now use a service for sending transcripts that requires some lead time and a fee. Give yourself plenty of time to meet the deadlines.
- ACT/SAT scores. Once you have completed one or both of these tests, the student can request to have scores sent to colleges and universities of their choice. This request can be done at the time of taking the test (included in the cost for up to four schools) or can be done on their respective websites for a fee per school. Note that these scores can take several days to send, so plan accordingly.
- Extra items. Some schools may ask for letters of recommendation, but not all require it. Find out if they are needed and prepare these in advance. As far as academics, extra-curriculars, and community involvement, the application tends to cover these.