Advice for your College Application Timeline

how to prioritize to-do items and manage your time for better work and less stress


Work on the Common Application Personal Statement essay

Why? This is one of the pillars of your application that will go to all universities you apply to. It can take time to make sure you’re writing on the right topic and taking the best approach, and then writing and editing it to your finished project. It’s ideal to have this completed before you start school so you have a major item completed.

Research Schools

Why? It is okay if you are still narrowing down your absolute final list, but over the summer, if not sooner, you should begin to research which colleges and universities you might allow to. You might ask yourself broader questions about your preferences, like what size, geographic location, majors, activities, types of university, etc., so you can narrow you’re your list as well. Knowing where you might apply will also allow you to visit schools or attend virtual information sessions, which is vital to show interest to your universities. You will also need to know their individual deadlines for supplemental essays and applications.


Activities List

Why? The activities are another pillar of the application. Getting them done early ensures you’ve given them attention to be sure they are descriptive and done properly. I

Fill Out the Common Application

Why? The Common Application asks you to fill out basic information about yourself. To save time later in the application cycle, fill this out early to get it done. As your activities and personal statement are completed, you can also add them. Once you complete the basics and submit it, additional requirements per your universities will appear, like supplemental essays, that you can then begin to work on.

Finalize school list

Why? The sooner this is done, the better. I’ve found that students who postpone this process into October or later begin to feel stressed about looming deadlines and a sudden time crunch. It can also minimize your chances of visiting or attending information sessions.


Focus on EA and ED applications and essays

Why? If you’re deciding on applying EA or ED, these applications will have deadlines in October or November depending on the school. I recommend making a document or spreadsheet with deadlines, requirements, and prompts so that you can easily track this. Because these applications can creep up quickly, it’s important to prioritize your time accordingly. Taking advantage of EA and ED options when available can also enhance your chances for admissions, so you don’t want to miss these deadlines.


Complete supplemental essays

Why? Regular Decision applications will generally be due sometime in January. Some will have rolling deadlines, and some will even extend into February! Keep track of your deadlines in your document or spreadsheet and prioritize them by which deadline will be due the soonest. Even if deadlines are all the way in January, there’s no reason not to get them done a little early! The holiday break is also an excellent time to get them finished.



With years of admissions experience and professional writing, Christina of Essay with Ease is your go-to guide for all essays related to college admissions.

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Essay with Ease

With years of admissions experience and professional writing, Christina of Essay with Ease is your go-to guide for all essays related to college admissions.