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Key Dates for Seniors During College Admissions

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Vinay Bhaskara in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.


What’s Covered:



There’s a lot to think about when it comes to college admissions, and it can be difficult to keep track of everything you need to know. Here, we’ll take a look at the most important dates and deadlines to have in mind in 12th grade.


Practically every college in the country has some variation of these deadlines. So, depending on the colleges that you’re applying to and other related factors, such as scholarships, you’ll also need to look into what those deadlines are.


Critical College Admissions Dates


August 1st


One important date is August 1st. That’s when the Common Application, the University of California system application, and the majority of other applications open up for the upcoming admissions cycle. If you’re planning on applying to college to enter in fall of 2023, that means these applications are already available.


October 1st and Mid-October


On October 1st, the updated financial aid applications will be released. That’s the FAFSA — the Federal Student Aid Financial Aid Application. Then, the CSS profile, which is used by about 300 private colleges, comes October 10th to 15th, so that mid-October range is going to be your first set of genuine application deadlines.


Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision


Many early action programs at public universities open as early as October 15th. One of the interesting trends we’ve seen in admissions in the last couple years is that application deadlines have been spread outwards, moving up earlier and earlier, while in other cases, they’re getting moved later and later into the new year.


It is still the case that the most common early action and early decision deadline for colleges is between November 1–5, somewhere in that range. And November 30th is also a critical date because it’s the University of California application deadline.


The most common regular decision deadlines are between January 1st and 10th in that early January period. In some cases, they fall on December 1st.


Financial Aid and Scholarship Dates


December 1st


December 1st is a very common scholarship deadline.


February and March


February 20–March 1 is commonly the end point of financial aid deadlines, but these are even more all over the map than application deadlines. If you’re applying for financial aid, make sure to be aware of these deadlines.


Other Key Dates


Now some other key dates to keep in mind are the SAT and ACT this fall. August 27 has already passed for the SAT, but there are late registration deadlines and additional dates, and it is still possible to register.


Other test dates include:


  • September 10 (ACT)
  • October 1 (SAT)
  • October 22 (ACT)
  • November 5 (SAT)
  • December 3 (SAT)
  • December 10 (ACT)


You’re going to get your scores back from some of these tests before most of the early deadlines. Most of those schools with November 1st and November 5th deadlines will accept September 10 and October 1 tests. The others test dates will be too late for early deadlines, but the scores will still be usable for regular decision deadlines. Later tests usually don’t roll around until February or March, past Regular Decision deadlines.


How Parents Can Help During the College Admissions Process


If you’re a parent, you can play a role in helping your child keep track of application deadlines — chances are, you’re a little bit more organized and have fewer moving parts in your life than your student does.


They’re trying to balance school, extracurricular activities, and a social life – all while completing college applications and perhaps preparing for the SAT or ACT. It’s a lot of work to juggle all of those things. Therefore, you can really help your students out by getting them organized and making sure they stay on track to meet these deadlines. 


So, now is the time to set your calendar to plan ahead. It’s critical to meet all your college admission deadlines, ensuring that you get all your materials in on time — or even well before the deadline.