Does submitting your application ahead of the deadline improve your chances?
Not if there is a true deadline. However, if the school operates under a rolling application policy then yes, an earlier application, one that fully and effectively portrays who you are, what you have done, and what you have to offer can definitely help. Indeed, it can allow the school to see early on that you are someone they want and they will probably jump on the chance to get you on board, hoping that their early interest in you will translate into an early commitment by you to them. However, if they have a definite deadline then early submission will have no impact. Rather, full consideration will be given to all applications that were submitted by the definitive deadline.
Short Answer: Not really. Detailed Answer: Admissions offices work fast and furiously. Often the entrance guidelines (all those numbers that represent who will get in and who won’t) aren’t even established until well into the fall semester. In addition, admissions counselors who make the decisions (if a machine isn’t making them) aren’t off the road from recruiting at high schools until the middle to the end of October – sometimes even into the first week of November. With first-year application deadlines ranging from November 1 to December 15, that doesn’t give a limited admissions staff much time to review all the applications they have received – in many cases into the 10s of thousands. What is astonishing to me this cycle is how quickly these decisions are being generated this year. I am advising students who literally submitted their applications the day before (or the day of) the deadline this fall and who received their decisions within a week. In some cases the letters and emails announcing the decisions are poorly written, missing information that is promised (such as links), and just downright cold and cruel – unforgivably sloppy, no matter if it’s good news or bad. This tells me that these institutions are either 1) mechanizing all their application decisions (no counselors see the actual files) or 2) they aren’t looking at any of the information that accompanies the application. So clearly, it doesn’t matter if you get your application in earlier. The fact is, they want to be able to tell their administration that their numbers look great this year, and be able to predict student life and academic needs for the next year, which is why they push for the apps to be in so early. But most institutions will continue to accept students on a “space available basis” long after their published deadlines.
However, my advise, as always, is this: Don’t try to game the system. If they publish a deadline, try to stick to it or get your application in before it is due – particularly for a college you really, really want to get into. Regarding the FAFSA deadlines? Now THAT matters. Get your PINs now, and submit your FAFSA the beginning of January, using your estimated taxes to complete it (you can change that info later when you have the real figures.) That is a pipeline that you want to be in from the word “Go.”
Possibly, but timing isn’t everything – content is.
Submitting your application early may help you to get in line for an interview. Interviews are useful whether they are informative or evaluative, not only as an opportunity for you to learn about the college, but also in demonstrating your interest in a specific college. Check the websites of the colleges on your list to learn how interviews are arranged–the invitation may be triggered by submitting your application or the institutional supplement.
Probably not. Schools may review applications as they come in, but they are not expecting the bulk of the applications until the deadline. It might help in that, as one of the early ones, your review is not surrounded by tons of other ones and so may be more memorable to the counselor that submitted it, but you will not get any extra points for getting it in ahead of schedule.
This really depends on the college. Some schools start to look at application as they come in, others wait until after the deadline to start reviewing applications. Some schools have a “preferred” deadline which is before the actual deadline. An example of this is Harvard whose deadline is in January, but they nicely ask that students submit in mid-December. Although, unless you thoroughly read their admissions website, you may not know this!
Unless the college reviews application on rolling basis it will usually not make a difference.
With a school that has a strict admissions deadline, they do not read applications as they are received so when you send it in will have no impact. You could send in your application in September, but they do not look at anything until after the deadline as passed. As for schools with rolling admissions, and no deadlines until the spring or summer, it might be helpful to get your materials in sooner, but if your profile meets their admissions requirements you are just as likely to be accepted in December as you are in April.
Submitting your application early will certainly indicate to the admissions office that you were organized, on top of your game, and eager to have them know you are interested. For example, if you are being evaluated next to another student of similar caliber who sent in their application ON the deadline, you certainly win points for being early! Will applying early make up for any deficiencies you have as an applicant (e.g. GPA, SAT scores, etc)? Probably not… but it certainly does not hurt!
colleges normally start to read applications at the same day for regular decision applicants. unless you are apply early decision, no benefit to submit ahead of the deadline.
Schools with rolling admission review applications as they are received and become complete. They generally promise students a decision anywhere from 4-12 weeks after their application becomes complete. However, most schools wait until they have a critical mass of applications before they begin reviewing them, so there is not an advantage to submitting early.
I always recommend submitting your application ahead of the deadline because I find that by doing so, students can avoid any last minute problems with online submission. That very practical reason is really the main one for why I suggest students submit application early. Submitting an application early will not enhance or decrease one’s chance of admission. Many admissions officers are traveling in the fall and early winter and do not have the time and opportunity to review applications that have trickled in early.
In admissions, deadlines are more than dates. Colleges publish both deadline date and type. For example, the College of Charleston offers and Early Action November 1 deadline. Students are reviewed equally within deadline groups, regardless of submission date. So, College of Charleston applicants who meet the Early Action deadline of November 1 (whether the application is complete on September 15 or 11:59 p.m. on November 1). Submitting an application early offers students the advantage of confirming that materials have been received by the deadline. Most deadlines are “received by” dates, not “post-marked” dates. One caveat: some schools offer a Rolling deadline type, meaning that applications are reviewed as they are completed. When the class is full, the college stops offering favorable admission outcomes. Students should try to apply to schools with a Rolling deadline program by November 1.
If you are applying to a rolling admissions school, then by all means don’t wait until the deadline. You could hear back within four weeks, it will put you in the queue for housing, class registration, financial aid awards, etc. This is a perfect example of why sooner is better when applying. For EA and ED applications, they will be read as a batch and all decisions communicated at the same time. However, don’t wait until the night before, just in case there is a technical glitch. For regular deadlines some schools will track when you applied because they will use that information when putting you in line for other campus assignment details. Don’t take a chance on missing out, submit asap.
I always like to see my students finish their applications ahead of schedule. That leaves ample time for proofreading and changes. However, submitting an application early is no guarantee that a school will look at it any sooner. After all, admissions reps are often out of the office traveling, especially during the fall. Depending on the college, there are specific times during which they read the numerous applications submitted by students. That said, students should be very aware of rolling admissions and early deadlines and pay close attention to the college’s stated policies. Early acceptance or notification can be – but isn’t necessarily – a competitive advantage for the candidate.
Probably, but timing isn’t everything – content is.
In some cases it can, in others it won’t. If a school reviews applications on a rolling basis, getting your application in early can make a difference. It can also help ensure that you’ll have access to housing and financial aid. But if a school will release all of its admissions decisions at the same time, it’s less likely that submitting your application ahead of the deadline will make a great deal of difference.
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