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How long is the admissions process?

, [edited]

I am a high school junior


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Hi @JalenS! The admissions process lasts different amounts of time for each student. For the sake of simplicity, we'll say that it "begins" when you first start researching schools and making academic, social, and extracurricular decisions with your college goals in mind. For some students, that starts in their freshman year of high school! For other students, it starts junior year or sometimes even senior fall. I've found that students who start the process early are usually glad they did, because it can get kind of stressful the longer you wait to start. That being said, if you start really early and are very intense about the process, that can be stressful too - so it's all about finding balance and feeling prepared!

The process typically "ends" when you commit to a college that has admitted you! That could be as early as senior fall or, more likely, March-May of your senior year. Keep in mind that some students switch colleges after they commit somewhere because they got off another waitlist or something changed about their situation. Something like that could extend the admissions process for a student.

If you're thinking about the length of the process for a "deadlines" perspective, the Common Application (one of the most standard ways to apply to colleges) opens up in August of your senior year, Regular Decision applications are due in January for many schools, and you'll probably know where you are going by May (~9 months later!). But keep in mind that there is definitely preparation you can and should do before the applications open up in August!