Technically, applications are due in the fall of senior year…
from November 1- January 1.
Applying for colleges is a process not to be rushed! And starting a college application the night before the application is due is unwise. Many students will read a deadline of December 1 and not think it necessary to prepare more than a week or a weekend prior to this date. This perspective has to do with two things: teenage brain development and the simple fact that most students do not know what is involved in completing a college application.
Here is my advice:
Plan. Prepare. Do.
Plan: college applications are complex and time consuming. It is necessary to plan for plenty of time to complete them.
Prepare: research colleges and determine important factors desired in a college, take college tests, gather testing data and transcripts, and visit college campuses.
Do: begin compiling lists of extra-curricular activities and developing essay topics well in advance of the fall of senior year.
In order to plan, prepare and do, the junior year of high school is the best time to begin. Once a college list is made, creating an account with college application portals like the Common App will allow students to begin filling out known information within the application.
“You may delay, but time will not.”
College application deadlines arrive quickly. When students are prepared, have a plan in place and commit to doing the work ahead of time, it alleviates last minute stress and pressure.
Procrastination can seriously hinder an applicant’s ability of putting their best self forward. Unfortunately, many students fall into “the night before it’s due” syndrome, and numerous college website servers will crash (and have crashed) from being overloaded, and hence, the application is lost or never gets submitted on time.
I recommend students set a goal of completion of their applications a full week before the application deadline. That way there will be plenty of time to review and make any needed changes and correct errors. And not being under pressure to hit the submit button at 11:59 pm the night before the application is due is a win.
The college application process can be daunting and stressful. The wise student will breakdown the application process into smaller chunks and begin early. This will significantly reduce the stress and anxiety associated with the college application process.