The college application season (September-January) can be a stressful time as seniors are juggling classes, essay writing, testing, and asking for recommendation letters. A big part of this stress is meeting each of your college’s strict deadlines in the middle of midterms and finals. This is why getting organized early can help alleviate some of the application season stress and ensure you have enough time to meet all your deadlines.
How early can you get ready?
Well, the Common Application opens on August 1st each year allowing you to start your application before the fall semester begins. ApplyTexas and the University of California Application system both also open on August 1st. There is not one set opening date for applications as each college has its own open date. Some schools, like Indiana State University, even open as early as June. Most colleges will have their applications open by mid-August, September at the latest. As specific applications open and deadline dates can vary depending on the college, it’s also important to check for additional deadlines for requirements/materials to be submitted, such as standardized test scores, financial aid, scholarships, transcripts, or recommendation letters. To ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines, it’s a good idea to start researching and planning for your college applications well in advance.
Luckily, you don’t have to wait for the application portals to open before working on your admissions package. Starting the summer before senior year can help expedite the most time-consuming aspect of the application, the personal essay. As the common app essay prompts generally stay the same each year, you can start brainstorming and drafting your personal essay early. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to edit, and the better quality you will submit. Below are the 2022-2023 common app prompts to help you get started:
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
If you are considering applying for financial aid, you will need to fill out the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA), which opens on October 1st of each year. Since many colleges have priority deadlines for financial aid, it is important to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible to be eligible for the most amount of aid and ensure they don’t run out of funds. Additionally, many large scholarship applications close early in the fall, before most college applications do. Some of these fall scholarships include the Gates Scholarship (Sept. deadline), Questbridge (Sept. deadline) and the Coca-Cola Scholarship (Oct. deadline). For more information on your options, you can also meet with one of Solomon’s many financial aid consultants.
Along with all the rigorous classes and exciting senior year festivities, your fall could be filled with many deadlines. This is why it is important to get organized early by creating a calendar or schedule that outlines the key dates for each school you’re applying to, including application open and deadline dates, as well as any additional requirements. This will save you time and stress in the long run and will help ensure you meet your dream school’s deadlines. If you ever need assistance with your application, consider working with a professional admissions consultant. Contact us for more information!