Should I apply early to college?
Applying early to your top school can be a good idea for many students–but it’s not always the right decision for everyone. There are many factors that can and should influence your decision to apply early. Read on to learn how to decide.
You should NOT apply early when…
- You are considering re-taking any standardized tests after Nov 1.
- Your grades from senior Fall will help strengthen your application – If you didn’t have a stellar record junior year, but you’re academic marks are on the upswing, you might want to wait to apply on the regular application cycle, so that Admissions Officers can take your senior year grades into account.
- You could use more time to really polish your application essay.
- If a recommendation letter from a teacher you have in the Fall of senior year could be a very strong letter – stronger than any of your junior year teachers. This teacher probably needs to get to to know you better after more than a few weeks of classes, so it might be best to wait to apply with the regular application cycle if they will be a strong recommendation. More simply put, if a senior year teacher might write you a good recommendation after Nov 1 but not before, then you might want to wait.
You SHOULD consider applying early when…
- You’ve gotten all of your recommendations from your Junior year teachers.
- Your application essay is not only finished, but reviewed, edited, and polished by Nov 1.
- Your Junior Spring test scores are strong and you do not plan to re-take any standardized tests.
- You are absolutely convinced that the school you are applying to is the one you want to go to. In order to determine this, picture yourself several years down the road…What is the ideal environment that your future self is living and working in? Is this the school you’re considering? Below are some smaller questions to ask yourself in order to determine whether or not the school you’re thinking of applying to is absolutely the right school for you:
→ Does the school have resources, professors, and departments that you’re interested in?
→ Does the school offer extra-curricular activities that you are excited to join, whether it be the newspaper or the ultimate frisbee team?
→ Does the school offer the appropriate financial aid or funding plan to allow you to be able to attend until graduation?
→ Is the culture of the school one you feel comfortable in?
If your answer is yes to these questions, and you’ve covered all of the practical concerns, then it could be a good idea to apply early.
The best-case scenario, if you do decide to apply early, is that you are successful with the application. But don’t despair if the first application doesn’t work out. Be sure to keep working on your grades and other applications throughout the Fall, so you don’t fall behind if you have to apply in the regular round.
Remember that each school has unique and different guidelines for early applications (and some don’t accept students early at all) so be sure to check out the exact policies for each school you’re interested in. It is a great idea to consult a guidance counselor, parent, or Signet Education consultant if you have any questions about these policies.
Questions about early applications? Give us a shout!