Does submitting your application ahead of the deadline improve your chances?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Does submitting your application ahead of the deadline improve your chances?

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Submitting Ahead of Deadline

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.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Probably Not...

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.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Deadline details

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.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

Deadlines are more than dates

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.

็Ž‹ๆ–‡ๅ› June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

Not really

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.

Jill Karatkewicz
Counselor East Hampton High School

Early is better than late!!

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!

Reena Gold Kamins
Founder College, Career & Life, LLC.

Earlier is Better for Rolling Admission

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.

Mollie Reznick
Associate Director The College Connection

Does submitting your application ahead of the deadline improve your chances?

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.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

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.

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

Does submitting your application ahead of the deadline improve your chances?

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!