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Here's the dish on college deadlines

The dish on college deadlines
The dish on college deadlines
Photo by Mike McGinnis

Call them finishing dates, cutoff points or target dates, deadlines are more than time limits when it comes to meeting them during college prep. For parents and their college-bound students who are procrastinators by nature or by circumstance, here is the dish on deadlines:

College admission programs
There are many ways colleges allow students to apply for admission. In addition to the regular admission program, students may choose to apply via other types a college offers including early admission (Early Decision, Early Action and hybrid versions) and rolling admission programs. Each admission program focuses on a different part of the calendar year. Check out this classic College Prep Insight: College Admission Applications to see how choice of admission program impacts financial aid awards. The college-bound must consider how their own schedule and the effect on their financial aid awards mesh with admission programs and their deadlines.

College admission applications
When it comes to college, many students make the mistake of thinking they only have to prepare one college admission application. Each school may modify/supplement a Common Application form used by many other schools or develop its own unique application. Either way, the college assigns its own deadline for its admission application. With high competition for limited spots, missing a deadline often means an automatic rejection.

Financial aid applications
While there is only one financial aid application form (FAFSA) from the federal government, state residents may also apply to their own state’s financial aid program on its form for help to pay for college. Although all colleges want FAFSA, some also require other forms like the CSS PROFILE or their own supplemental form. It is up to students to know all federal, state and college deadlines (which often differ) because some programs are designed to award the early birds first. With tight government and college budgets and strict program rules, there may be no more funds left for late filers, let alone deadline missers.

Private scholarship applications
Large and small businesses, employers, fraternal organizations, clubs, groups, schools and individuals may offer a scholarship to the winning applicant. The private source offers its own application and deadline to enter. The easiest way scholarship sponsors have for narrowing the winning pool is to toss out those that fail to follow instructions. Missing deadlines means missing chances for winning money to help pay for college.

College visits
By visiting a college, students get to see if it is a good match and colleges get to see the student’s demonstrated interest in them. Schools offer informations sessions and campus tours. They also may provide special programs like sitting in on a class, shadowing a current student, or arranging overnight visits. Some may require advanced registration or the college being in session. Students must coordinate their own schedules with the college’s to maximize the benefits of visiting and avoid missing important opportunities.

High school
School counselors play an important role in the college process. They write student recommendations and send high school transcripts to the colleges students apply. It is up to the student to meet any high school deadline for giving them the info they need, signing up for necessary classes, and completing assignments. Teachers writing recommendation letters may also require advanced notice or they may not have time to get the job done.

The severe consequences for missing college deadlines include application rejection, loss of financial aid, and missed opportunities. To receive notification about future articles of concern to parents of the college-bound, click on "Subscribe" near the above photos. Connect via Twitter and in the comments section about the dish on college deadlines.