Students Respond to College Application Deadlines


photo courtesy of AP Images

Prospective students take a campus tour at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Caspar Dowdy, Editor-in-chief

Upperclassmen may be able to breathe a bit easier now that Nov. 1, a day many universities use as their early action deadline, is over.

The date marks the time when universities stop considering applications early, and start the countdown to regular decision deadlines. For those who make the push to send in their applications by the first deadline, colleges tend to release their admissions decisions a few months before regular applicants. In some cases, applying early can help students qualify for exclusive scholarships, or make them more likely to get into their school of choice.

Material benefits aside, getting applications done early can help students with one important thing: their mental health. With applications out of the way before Nov. 1, there’s one less thing to stress about as the end of first semester draws closer.

“I didn’t want to deal with unfinished college applications hanging over my head,” senior Will Dorsey said, “and most schools said that I would be looked at more favorably if I applied early action.”

A survey of 27 EHS students who plan to attend college showed that 81.5% submitted their applications by the early action deadline. Common reasons students shared for opting to apply early included wanting to hear back from colleges sooner and feeling like they would have a better chance of getting accepted.

The earlier I hear back from [a college], the more time I have to make a decision on if I want to go there,” one survey response said.

For the 17.9% of students who did not submit their applications by the early action deadline, time is a running theme. Many students said they were too busy to complete their applications before Nov. 1.

“I ran out of time,” senior Drew Bagby said. “I have had so much happen in the past few months with work, school and out-of-school activities.”

Most colleges space out their deadlines by a few months, meaning regular decision deadlines will begin to roll in around the start of the new year. For those still needing to complete their college applications, finding time to do everything may be a source of worry. But there are ways to simplify the application process.

Dorsey, who applied to eight schools early, said he used the Common Application to help save time and keep him from “jumping between eight different admissions portals.” He’s since heard back from three of those colleges.

“It took me a few afternoons of sitting down and doing some boring repetitive work,” he said, “but it was worth it.”