When should I start the application process? (I am currently a Junior)Answered
When is the best time to start the application process? I am currently a Junior but I want a jumpstart in applying... I am also looking to go to school in Fall 2022.
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“ Here is the beautiful thing about the Common App – the application opens on August 1,  for students who are looking to start college in Fall , BUT you can begin completing the general portion of the Common App any time prior to that, starting 8/1 of the prior year...” (https://www.signaturecollegecounseling.com/when-do-college-applications-open-for-fall-2021/).
This is, of course, when the universal Common Application opens (August 1) to record/submit all necessary documents for the fall admissions process. It is also necessary to consider that some colleges NOT present on the Common App list hold their own opens admissions date—some before in June and some a little while after Aug. 1. Though, you CAN prepare for the credentials necessary for the admissions date before by:
(1) preparing letter of recommendation,
(2) practice personal essay writing (many find this to be a struggle to perfect their “essays”),
-(2.1) practice supplement essay writing,
(3) prepare any SAT/ACT/AP/IB scores you wish to be viewed (I believe this cycle is test-optional as well),
(4) know what extracurriculars to include,
(5) AND prepare for financial aid through FAFSA and CSS (the latter if the school requires it for aid).
[The FAFSA opens October 1] (https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa)
[Common App opens Aug. 1 ] (https://www.commonapp.org/)
Some key deadlines to note are Nov. 1 (most ED/EA for Ivy Leagues and Ivy+ close then). Another is Dec. 1-15 (some schools close there credentials for acceptance of “merited aid”—this is critical if you wish to apply). Yet another is Jan. 1-15 of 2022 (most regular decision apps close then). It is also important to note that some schools don’t accept an influx of applications by deadline as aforementioned, but on a rolling basis. This means they will accept any applications/credentials for admission until a set date (usually May 1 - June) when it closes.
Hope this helps a lot!! I’ve honestly made some mistakes in my application process where a deadline was missed simply because I had very little guidance through “virtual learning”. It’s certainly a different process due to these uncertain times. Best of Luck to you!!!
1. Do ASAP: Think of which two teachers you want to ask to write letters of recommendation for you. Most schools require at least one and allow you to submit up to two letters of rec from teachers that teach an academic subject (like English, history, science, social studies, math, etc.). Once you think of which two teachers to ask, ask them ASAP, as in, in the next few weeks. Don't ask more than two unless one says their letters of rec for students is already filled up because writing a letter of rec for college takes a long time and it's not fair for teachers to put in a lot of time and effort into something you end up not using. And ask current teachers because they know you more than your previous year's teachers know you. ALSO, make sure you finish this year strong academically.
2. Do during the summer: Start planning and writing your essays - the Common App essay, UC supplemental essays (if you plan on applying there bc UC's use their own application), Coalition App. The prompts for these essays are the same every year and you can look them up online. Spend a good amount of time thinking about what you want to write about and start writing them. The essay writing process takes a long time, so starting early is always a good idea. ALSO, research which schools you want to apply to. Private schools usually have additional supplemental essays you have to write so you plan on applying to private schools, it's a good idea to figure out which one(s) you plan on applying to and get a head start on writing the supplemental essays.
3. Also do during the summer: Plan out which extracurriculars/activities to include on application (on Common App you can include up to 10), start looking into scholarships (but you can start this in the fall), finish any last test prep if you plan on taking the SAT/ACT in August or September.
TLDR: Ask current teachers to write letters of rec for you now/ASAP and focus on finishing this year strong. Start essay writing and other bits during the summer.
You should definitely start as soon as possible. Most fall 2022 applications have opened up, so by getting a head start, you can ensure that you will not be waitlisted and have the best opportunity to get in where you want to go. With that being said, I wouldn't recommend rushing applications either. I learned that the hard way :(.
I personally started getting informed about schools and scholarships since my sophomore year. But if you are a junior ( like I am ) I recommend you start the process now over the summer.
I would honestly say the latest this summer. If you can start/finish your college list during summer and start showing demonstrated interest, the college application process will feel a lot clearer.
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The earlier you start, the easier it will get. You won't have to stress as much during your senior year. I would totally recommend getting a jump start in your application process if you plan on applying to several colleges. After all, it is only up to you.