Most colleges will advise prospective students to apply for admissions as early as possible, but they’ll continue to process applications until a later deadline date – or possibly right up until the class fills up and runs out of space. So what exactly does a student gain from meeting priority deadline application dates?
Priority Admissions Selection
Applying early for college means you’ll be among the first round of students considered. So not only will there be more space available for you, you’ll also leave a good impressions on the admissions staff by proving you can get your application materials together in a quick and timely fashion.
Consideration for Institutional Scholarships and Financial Aid
Financial aid departments often rely on admissions applications and FAFSA documentation when making a decision about who will receive institutional awards, so if they don’t have your applications when they start handing out scholarships and financial aid, they won’t be able to give you any of that free money!
Typically, applying by a college’s listed priority admissions date will ensure that you receive full consideration for all of the institutional scholarships and financial aid that you may be eligible for.
Some colleges don’t have enough dorm space on campus for every student, and many of these decisions and assignments will be made on a first-come first-served basis. Whether its finding your first-choice dorm, or being able to get a dorm spot at all, the earlier you apply the better your odds will be.
Peace of Mind
Another under-appreciated benefit of applying to college early is that you’ll have a bit more peace of mind when the later application deadlines are coming due! Many colleges continue to accept admissions requests until around the end of a student’s senior year in high school, but that time of year is already booked with finals, graduation, and looking for summer employment.
If you don’t submit all your applications and supporting documents by the priority admissions deadline, don’t panic! Most schools still have spaces available passed that date and there are many sources of financial assistance other than institutional aid. Ideally though, an early admissions application can only help!