An Overview of the Timeline for Early Applications
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.
- Early Action and Early Decision 1 Deadlines
- Early Action and Early Decision 2 Deadlines
- Benefits of Applying Before Deadlines
In this article, we’ll examine the timeline of early college applications, including major deadlines and the potential benefits of getting your applications in ahead of time.
There are several key dates to keep in mind during the early application process. While those dates are different for every college, there is generally a potential deadline every 15 days or so throughout the application period.
Early Action and Early Decision 1 Deadlines
The earliest Early Action (EA) deadlines are October 15th. You’ll see this deadline more often at public colleges and universities. There are typically not any Early Decision (ED) deadlines on October 15th.
November 1st is the first major deadline you need to keep in mind. This is the predominant deadline for EA 1 and ED 1, the first rounds of Early Action and Early Decision.
November 15th is a possible deadline for Early Action and Early Decision 1, and December 1st is another possible due date for these rounds.
Early Action and Early Decision 2 Deadlines
December 15th is the earliest date you’ll see for Early Decision 2 and Early Action 2 deadlines.
The most common Early Action and Early Decision 2 deadline is January 15th. However, January 1st is also a common ED 2 and EA 2 deadline that you should be aware of. It was once the predominant Regular Decision deadline, but most colleges have started to move that date back due to the pressure it was putting on holiday vacation for students.
Benefits of Applying Before Deadlines
You may have heard that there’s no benefit to applying ahead of the Early Action deadline, since committees don’t convene until November 1st, and this is true. There’s really no benefit to sending your application in before the EA deadline. However, there is a personal benefit for you. Getting your application in a day or two early means you won’t be rushing to complete it at the last minute, which can help you avoid any potential mistakes. But rest assured that committees don’t start reading applications until after November 1st.
Similarly, many students wonder if there is any benefit to submitting a Regular Decision application far before the deadline. If it’s truly a Regular Decision deadline, the answer is not really. However, if the school in question has rolling admissions, there is some benefit to submitting as early as possible, since the admissions officers are making and releasing decisions constantly.
For a school with a Regular Decision deadline, there could be a benefit to submitting your application a bit earlier with regard to financial aid policies. If a college does not meet 100% of demonstrated financial need, you can actually benefit from applying earlier, because you’re more likely to have your application read earlier. This in turn means you’re more likely to access a larger financial aid budget and possibly get more aid than those with later applications.