Critical College Application Deadlines

Stay on top of things your senior year and don't miss deadlines.

If you are wondering when to apply for college, the key to successfully getting into the College of your choice is staying ahead of college application deadlines. Make sure you don’t miss deadlines for college applications, financial aid and loan applications, required testing, essays, and potential interviews. Being late with just one piece of information or delaying a response to a request by the college could ruin your chance of acceptance to that college or cause you to lose free grant or scholarship money. Senior year is not the year to back off and coast, quite the contrary. Now is the time to be more focused and more diligent than ever.

OCTOBER kicks off the mad rush for getting into the college of your first choice. Step one in that process is achieving a high score on your SAT. Competition to get into top schools has never been greater in the history of the U.S. With the level of competition, it is more important than ever to score high on this required exam. A good prep course can pay for itself tenfold by giving you valuable experience studying and practicing for the SAT. Start to refine the list of schools you intend to apply to, not just your favorite or number one school on your list, and make sure your SAT scores satisfy their minimum for acceptance. It is recommended that you apply to somewhere between 5 and 7 schools in the current higher educational environment.

Some colleges offer early decision and/or early action applications. These can get you ahead of the game and give you peace of mind if your application is accepted, but be aware of the requirements that accompany these types of applications. During this process, you should also be researching the available Financial Aid that is offered by each Institution you are considering as well as any Scholarships or Grants that are unique to that school and those that are offered by the Government. Don’t forget that many State Governments provide financial aid at no cost to you, so be sure to inquire as to what is available and the process required.

By this time you should be well on your way to completing your essays. When you feel your essay is ready, ask trusted teachers, your school advisor, any college professors you may be acquainted with, prior bosses from work and/or leaders in the community to review it for you. Be open to any suggestions that they may have. After all, they may have very well been where you are now. Keep in mind that your essay is very important in today’s college application process. Schools want to see your personality come through in this essay. Sure, they are well aware of awards and accomplishments and see many of these with every application, but they are hungry to see YOU and your personality come through and how it will add to their school environment. Be you.

NOVEMBER, and crunch time before the Holidays will be here before you know it. Hopefully your SAT has the high score you were expecting, if not, consider getting some extra prep work or tutoring so that you can retake the SAT again. Once your SAT is out of the way start looking to take the ACT if your school requires it or accepts it. Not all schools will accept the ACT.

Ensure that ALL early decision applications have been submitted to your schools and you have some type of physical confirmation that they have received all the necessary paperwork. Any requests by the schools for additional information should be met as soon as possible and it is imperative to avoid any delays. Keep in mind that you are entering the Holiday season and delays are likely.

Finalize your essays and get any referrals or letters of recommendation from your teachers, counselors, prior employers or community leaders. They can be a big boost as your application is considered for approval.

Lastly, BEWARE of “Senior Slump,” also known as “Senioritis.” Yes, you have worked hard, and it is the end of High School, and you want to coast and enjoy the last few months, but hang in there. Now is the time to pour it on as it can make the difference between going to the College of your dreams and settling for your second or third choice college.

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