Most college early deadlines are coming up soon: November 1, although a few are still November 15 — you have to check. Don’t worry though — as long as you POSTMARK your application by November 1, it will not be late. BUT, do check each school as University of Michigan, for instance, changed its policy and requires applications to ARRIVE BY their due date rather than be POSTMARKED. It takes admissions officers a good 1-2 weeks to open and assemble applications. They encourage kids to apply before the deadline so they have some files to start with. If everyone sent everything in November 1, it’s possible they wouldn’t finish reading them. For those schools that offer alumni interviews, it’s actually better to mail in your application by October 15th to maximize your chance of getting an alumni interview on time.
In a previous tip, we talked about early decision, early action and single action early action. No matter which program you apply under, it is a good idea to follow up around November 12th or so to make sure ALL your materials were received. In order for your file to be complete, the high school must send in their forms, you of course must send in your forms (and the check) and your recommendations must be in as well. Early decision has a very compressed time schedule, so take the time to follow up.
Not to horrify anyone, but in Michele’s own case, she called Dartmouth in mid-November to check and it turned out that her high school had not checked early decision even she had in her application, so Dartmouth had put her in the regular pool. It always pays to follow up. This is the time of year where students need to finish up early applications and get them posted soon.
Don’t forget about the schools that have a second round of early decision—those programs can still increase your admissions chances dramatically from the regular pool and you can wait to hear from your early decision program before committing. Wesleyan has a second round ED program to give one example.