Deadlines are a fact of life during the college application process. From applications to standardized tests to financial aid, there’s some type of due date involved in almost every step of your college search.
Your application deadline is one of the most important of these due dates. While submitting your application early might not improve your chances of getting into your dream school, it does provide some benefits that make your search easier. Here are five of them:
1. Mental relief.
Everyone knows the feeling of being under the gun, rushing to complete work that needs to get done for a fast-approaching deadline. It’s not a great feeling! By submitting your application early, you can avoid subjecting yourself to this type of stress and pressure.
2. Reflects highly on you as a student.
Admissions departments might not actually review your application until closer to the deadline date, but if they see that you’ve submitted yours early, it could work to your advantage. Jill Karatkewicz, a counselor at East Hampton High School, says that if your application is being compared to one from a student of a similar caliber, an earlier submission date could tip the odds in your favor.
3. Gives you more time to proofread.
If you complete your application hours (or minutes!) before it’s due, you won’t have much of an opportunity to read over each component and ensure it makes sense. On the other hand, if you complete your application early, you’ll have ample time to read over every part for things like spelling, grammar, flow, and tone. It’s also more likely that you’ll submit a complete application with nothing missing.
4.You’ll hear back sooner from schools with rolling admissions.
While some colleges have hard deadlines for their applications, other schools have rolling deadlines. This means you can submit your application anytime during the period a school accepts them, typically a few months. Since colleges with rolling admissions review applications as they receive them, the earlier you submit yours, the earlier you’ll know whether or not you were accepted.
5. Safeguards you from technical glitches and errors.
It’s a nightmare scenario: You’ve spent hours working on your application to get it done by a rapidly-approaching deadline. Time is almost up, but you’re just about finished. As you go to click submit, your screen locks up and then goes blank. Your deadline is now hours, or worse, minutes away, and technical problems might cause you to miss it. By submitting your application early, you protect yourself from an unexpected power outage, frozen computer, or Internet service disruption.
Do I have to submit my applications early?
You don’t have to submit anything early—as long as your application is complete and sent in before the deadline, you’ll get the same review as every other applicant. But submitting your application early can greatly reduce stress and uncertainty during the college application process, helping you feel better about your chances of attending the ideal school.