Some colleges and universities will have earlier application deadlines than you might imagine. Rutgers University has deadlines as early as November 1st! (First Year, Early Action, November 1, 2010 and First Year, Regular Action, December 1, 2010)
Their early action deadline is barely over a month away. What are the deadlines for your prospective colleges? Don't beat yourself up if you don't know, but set aside some time to find out soon.
While your getting the list of application deadlines together, make note of a few other things as well.
- Relevant deadline (talk to your counselor if you don't know which deadline matters to you)
- Form of application (online or paper)
- If it's paper, get a copy in hand (and photocopy it so you can do a rough draft)
- For paper apps, identify the correct mailing address
- Letters of recommendation needed
- Supporting documents needed (transcript, etc.)
- $$$ needed for each application
Now mark your calendar TWO WEEKS ahead of the deadline for each application and work towards that earlier date. Stuff happens. Computers die. Web sites crash. Printers run out of ink. Things get lost or delayed in the mail.
Chances are that your high school counselor will have a hand in at least part of your application package. He/she may be sick or out of school for other reasons.
Don't plan on running breathlessly into the guidance office to tell your counselor to drop everything and Fedex your application to get it in by tomorrow. It's not happening!
That's why I recommend the two week early "faux" deadline. If you use it, a number of things can go wrong, and you'll still have your application in early.
Finally, remember that a really late deadline can't be relied on. If you're college is using rolling admissions, you may turn in the application on time, but still be too late. Please take minute to see what I mean.