Application deadlines

When Does the Clock Strike Midnight for Submitting an Application?

College application deadlines generally cluster around the same time, depending on the type of school and the decision plan a student has selected. Hopefully by now you have checked the website of every college to which you are applying, since deadlines can vary from school to school and may be confusing. For example, some colleges have a supplement deadline prior to their Common Application deadline.

Our best advice? Do not wait until the last minute to submit your forms. Many colleges shut down completely between Christmas and New Year’s. If you run into problems, the admission office will not be open to advise you. So plan accordingly.

And if you insist on taking it down to the wire, be aware that on the Common Application, all time stamps are in the United States Eastern time zone, which is where Common Application offices are located. Also, all deadlines are automatically set as 11:59 p.m. This means that if you are filing from Seattle on January 1, with a January 1 deadline, you will need to submit your application no later than 8:59 p.m. Pacific time. Colleges do have the latitude to extend their deadlines to their own local time, and many do. (If you are using another form or electronic provider, check to see how they time- stamp their applications.) Your safest bet is to use U.S. Eastern time as your standard.

Actually, your safest bet is to submit each of your applications well before the clock strikes midnight on the due date.

Getting Organized for the Last Lap

From time to time, we will be welcoming guest bloggers to the website. Today, we're pleased to host Ana Homayoun, an expert on time-management and organization. You may notice that our guests' recommendations don't always jibe with the guidance in our book -- for example, we recommend that you do your essays first, before the rest of the application! But not all great minds think alike and we believe you can benefit from a broad spectrum of advice and expertise. As you count down to your deadlines, Ms. Homayoun is here to help: When it comes to the college application process, I often think of December as akin to the third of the four laps of the timed mile run in P.E. class. Even though you have already done so much and exhaustion is starting to creep in, there still may be a key amount of work left to do before the finish/submission line. Some students feel as though they have been hearing about college applications forever, and by December many students can find the final details daunting. But some simple steps can make a huge difference in successfully finishing up.