Earlier is not always better, but sometimes it is: When to submit your college applications depend on many factors

Post By: COYD Staff

early admission“It’s not a horse race.”

Yesterday I read an article in the NY Times titled “Pulling an All-Nighter for the College Application“. In this article, the author talks about Cree Bautista, an upcoming senior at Pflugerville High School who submitted his application to NYU only hours after the form went live. In the article, Shawn Abbott, the incoming dean of undergraduate admissions at NYU, said, “We won’t even download it until months from now. It’s not a horse race.” In fact, according to the article, “they say that there is no reason to apply five months in advance, let alone two, and that they are far more inclined to put a premium on thoughtfulness and contemplation than speed.” **

I wanted to share this article because I know that many of you are looking for any way to have a leg up over other applicants. You want to get into the college of your dreams, and the stress associated with that is quite overwhelming. I know you want the universities to see your enthusiasm for their particular university. Unfortunately, the “horse race” strategy is not one of the ways to increase your competitive advantage and I think most of you know that. However, there is 1 exception. The exception lies in colleges that have rolling admissions. Most top 40 undergraduate schools do not have rolling admissions, but that is not the case with business school graduate admissions. In fact, many of the top 10 business schools have rolling admissions.

For those of you who don’t know what rolling admissions are: they are when a school accepts applications between two dates, applications are reviewed as they are received, and spots are filled in a rolling timeline. So this is why applying early is better, because if you apply toward the end, there might be a chance that all the available spots have already been filled. In addition, if you apply early, you are essentially competing with a smaller pool because the pool is shallow at the beginning and gets deeper as the time goes by.

So if your application is well crafted, proofread and ready to go, then applying early to schools with rolling admissions will enhance your chances of getting in. For undergraduate admissions, this strategy can also apply for early decision or early action. However, there are pros and cons you need to consider before applying early.

Advantages: Higher percentage of early applicants are admitted than regular decision applicants. More time to enjoy your senior year. More time to focus on scholarships.
Disadvantages: Early applicants usually are a more competitive pool. Less financial aid options.

Read the previous blog posting titled Should I apply early to college? Understanding the pros and cons of early action and early decision for a more in depth explanation.

So remember, earlier is not always better but sometimes it does help. Do your research and find out what kind of admissions process the universities you are applying to follow.

**Steinberg, Jacques. “Pulling an All-Nighter for the College Application”, NY Times, August 10, 2010.


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