College Application Holiday Deadlines: Submit Your Applications Early!

Encourage  your high school student to submit their college applications
before the New Year.

By: April Bell, Director, Counselor Advocacy | The College Board

Holiday DeadlinesHelp your high school seniors get ahead in the college
application process by beating the college application holiday deadlines, and avoid the stress of the “rippling effect” by  implementing a target deadline. Come New Year’s Day, they’ll be celebrating the successful completion and submission of their college applications, and can relax, enjoy the holidays and return to school prepared to take on the remaining portions of the college admissions process!

Senior year, students experience a number of changes as they
end their high school career and prepare for their future after graduation. It’s easy for them to become overwhelmed with the lengthy to-do lists for college applications. Parents should encourage their teens to complete each portion of the application process on time and avoid the rippling effect that comes when even just one deadline is missed. Applying before the new year gets the applications out of the way so students can focus
on other tasks such as financial aid applications, securing housing and
selecting a meal plan. will help seniors outline
a plan
that’s tailored to their individual needs with calendars, deadline
alerts, and holiday breaks, all the while keeping your teenager on track to
reach their goal of receiving a college acceptance letter in the Spring!

But remember, college applications are important for all students, regardless of their grade level. Many college applications require information about extracurricular activities, scores from tests such as the SAT, and of course an academic transcript. This means, from freshman year in high school to senior year, students can always be working towards creating their best college application package possible. See the tips below to discover more on how to assist your high school students with maximizing each year of high school.

Freshman Year

It’s important to be on track, even as early as Freshman year, and resources such as BigFuture by the College Board can help your high schooler personalize their path and stay ahead of the curve. As a parent, you are vital to the success of your teenager by ensuring they excel academically and establish effective work habits. But remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Helping your high school student understand the roles of their school counselors and teachers  in the college application process early will encourage them to establish relationships with their counselors and teachers throughout all four years of high school. Make it a goal to urge your teenager to begin talking about college with their educators at the start of their freshman year.

Sophomore Year

To help prepare your high school student to be strong
college applicants, remember to reassure your teenagers that what
they do in high school matters
. Colleges seek well-rounded candidates, so
encourage children to take advantage of the clubs, sports and other
extracurricular and enrichment activities available in the school and community
to explore their personal interests and get a head start on building their
portfolio and resume.

Sophomore year, invite your high school student to take the PSAT/NMSQT
and challenge them to set personal goals to track their success. Encourage them to seek out teachers, school counselors and other valuable resources to learn more and prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT. Early and ongoing preparation will enable students to perform well on the test and possibly expose them and their scores to colleges and scholarship providers.

Junior  Year

Throughout junior year, encourage your teen to begin taking practical steps to start their college search to avoid becoming overwhelmed their senior year with their college applications. Junior year can be very stressful for a number of reasons. However, if used effectively, it can actually be a great stress reliever. Encourage students to perform well in school, and on their college entrance exams, such as the SAT, prior to senior year. Strong performance in school that is consistent appeals to colleges and universities and will give your student an advantage. Also, staying proactive junior year will help them stay balanced and give them more freedom to enjoy their senior year in high school and look forward to the next phase of their life.

Talk to your teenagers about their interest in college to help them begin thinking about the application process. Share your experiences and make it a priority to talk to your teens about identifying a few colleges of interest prior to the New Year. Some may consider applying early to college. There are various resources available such as this early decision calendar, which outlines what to do junior and senior year to prepare for applying to colleges and meeting the early decision application deadline.
This will give them enough time to learn more about the early decision process and begin researching colleges of interest, contact school admissions offices, and even schedule campus tours.

For additional resources and information on colleges, applications, financial aid and more, visit

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