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Is It Too Late? Starting Your College Apps in November
Have you been putting off your college applications? Did you think you’d take a year off or maybe attend a community college, but now you’re having second thoughts? Did you just wake up from a long summer’s sleep and realize with a start that’s already November?
There’s no need to panic just yet. If you haven’t started to prepare your college applications, you’re not completely out of time. In fact, if you get organized now and use your time wisely, you might still find yourself the lucky recipient of a college acceptance this spring. Ready to get started?
In this post we’ll share what you need to know about starting college applications in November, what the most important things to do right away are, and what application deadlines are still available to you. There’s not much time left, so keep reading to get the ball rolling!
What Should I Be Mindful Of When Starting College Apps in November?
If it’s November and you’re just starting your college applications, there’s no other way to put it—you’re behind the ideal schedule. That being said, just because you’re beginning the process later than most doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get into a great college. It just means you’ve got some catching up to do in the next few months and you may need to reframe some of your thinking.
First, in case you were not aware, you will not able to apply Early Decision as most of these deadlines have passed or are passing very soon. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means that there is no sense now in putting any thought into Early Decision or Early Action applications. You can skip those ideas and move straight on to regular decision applications.
Next, many scholarship deadlines have also passed. This means that if finances are a concern, you will need to consider other ways to meet your financial needs. You could think about applying to colleges with solid financial aid packages or lower tuition costs. You might also consider if you could possibly juggle a job while going to college. Again, missing the scholarship deadlines isn’t ideal, but it’s also not a deal breaker. It just means that you’ll need to be more cognizant of financial considerations as you move forward.
Also keep in mind that college applications are not a process to be rushed. You might be tempted to hurry through your personal statement or get your standardized tests over in one fell swoop, but this isn’t wise since it likely won’t project your most polished image. You’re going to need to slow down enough to do your best work. If this means that you miss some deadlines, you may need to find schools with later ones. (Don’t worry, we’ll provide a list further down).
In addition, realize that your personal time crunch does not mean someone else’s crisis. This is a busy time of year for everyone, and teachers and guidance counselors have many students who need their help. You might feel particularly stressed about waiting your turn, but it’s helpful to remember that you aren’t the only one trying to meet application deadlines, even if you’ve gotten a late start.
Finally, always remember that your late start doesn’t mean you won’t be a competitive college applicant. You’re not the first person to be late to the college application game, and it’s still completely within the realm of possibility that you’re going to get into a great school. Maintain a positive attitude, take your time, and do your best for your greatest shot at success.
What Are the Most Important Things To Do Right Away?
There are a handful of things that you need to get started on right away in order to maximize the amount of time you have left.
First, if you plan to apply for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible. In some states, awards are only awarded until funds are depleted, so waiting longer could decrease the amount of aid available. To learn more about the deadlines in your state, check out FAFSA’s Student Aid Deadlines.
Next, register to take your standardized tests. There are December SAT and ACT test dates that you can register for by phone until mid-November. After that, you’re looking at a February ACT or a March SAT. Getting these planned as soon as possible will leave you the most options.
If you haven’t already, you should also get started making a college list. For now, focus on schools that you truly want to attend and don’t worry about application deadlines. You might still be able to make a January deadline if the pieces fall into place and if not, you can make another informed decision as the situation warrants.
Finally, request teacher recommendations. When you do so, be sure to communicate that you realize how late you are in requesting these and that you are truly grateful to the teachers who agree to take them on in a timely manner. For more information about selecting a teacher to write your recommendations, check out our posts What Makes a Good Recommendation Letter and A Step by Step Guide to Your Recommendation Letters.
Can I Still Make a January 1 or January 15 Deadline?
The good news is, you might still be able to make one of these deadlines if the stars align in your favor. What do we mean by this?
First of all, you will absolutely need to make sure that you take your standardized tests in December and that you do well enough on them to leave you some options.
In addition, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough time to gather all the necessary application materials including letters of recommendation, personal statements, and transcripts.
While it’s not impossible to make a January application deadline, you might not be putting your best foot forward if you have to really rush in order to do so. The good news is, there are plenty of schools with deadlines beyond January.
Which Schools Have Deadlines Past January 15?
Here are some of our favorite colleges with later application deadlines.
Great Options with Feb 1 Deadlines:
Great Options with Feb 15 Deadlines:
Great Options with Rolling Admissions:
If the calendar has turned to November and you’re just getting started on your college applications, you are probably starting to feel the heat. Don’t worry; it is still possible to get it all done and get into a great school.
If you need a little help along the way, consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s Applications Guidance service. Here, you’ll be paired with a personal admissions specialist who can provide step-by-step guidance through the entire application process, even if you’re on a tight timeframe.