University of Virginia

Deadlines Move Up

Most parents and teenagers know that deadlines are important when it comes to applying for college.  The “system” is built around a certain timing – start getting serious in the spring of junior year in high school, take tests, apply in the fall and winter of senior year, hear back in the spring, make a decision, and graduate.  It’s been that way for years.

But it is changing, subtly.  Students are applying earlier and earlier, and now, colleges are moving up application deadlines.  No longer is January 1 or February 1 the only important date.  Some schools are encouraging applications beginning as early as September!  The new popularity of Early Action programs (as opposed to Early Decision) means that most students will have at least one admissions decision by Christmas.

What does all this mean?  First, you have to know each of the deadlines for every school on your list.  You cannot assume it will be the same as last year, this is a rapidly changing area.  Second, merit aid may have its own deadlines, especially for early applicants.  Third, for families with juniors in high school, you need to be focused on college now.  Do not wait until the spring to get started. 

The entire calendar has shifted forward.  Get started sooner so the shift does not catch you off-guard.  For seniors, be meticulous about your deadlines.