1-888-627-6631

4 Key Points You Need to Know about College Admissions

College Admissions Advice 2017-2018

UPDATED FOR 2020/2021 ADMISSIONS SEASON!

So, you’re finally a senior. Aren’t you excited? If you aren’t, you should be! After all, you’re no longer that kid scurrying out of an upperclassman’s way. YOU rule the hallways now, and many of you are probably wishing you can hit the fast forward button to senior prom and that day when you’ll get to walk across the stage in a cap and gown.

But hang on a minute. It’s only the beginning of fall semester, which means that somewhere inside you might actually be freaking out. Are we right? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. The fall semester of senior year is probably one of the most stressful times of your high school career. You’re probably asking yourself:

  • What school should I go to?
  • By when do I need to apply?
  • Are my grades and test scores good enough?
  • Can I afford it?
  • What if I don’t get in?
  • The questions go on and on and seem to only cause more headaches when parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and even friends, constantly bug you about one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in life.

    But don’t despair! Just for you, we’ve come up with a quick cheat sheet to help you through the admissions process. We know it’s confusing trying to read through all the information out there, so let us help you out with a few points: (1) how to apply; (2) types of applications; (3) key deadlines; and (4) key standardized test dates. Let’s take a closer look.

    How to Apply to College

    1. Roughly 700 colleges accept the Common Application. Use it to register and choose the schools you want to apply to. The platform will tell you the deadlines for each school and also what additional materials you might need to prepare. You’ll have to fill in your basic biographical info and also write a personal essay (see below for more info about the essay).
    2. The University of California (UC) schools also share their own common UC application site.
    3. For schools not participating in the Common Application, you should visit the school’s website and follow the school’s directions regarding its admissions process.

    Types of Applications

    1. Early Decision – if you apply and are accepted, you must attend. This is a binding agreement. Deadlines are usually mid-October through mid-November, and you usually receive a decision by mid-December. Confirm the exact deadline with each school. While this option is great if you’re certain you want to go to a particular school, the major drawback of early decision is that you’ll have agreed to attend the school, regardless of what financial aid you may be able to get. We recommend that you reach out to the school’s financial aid office before applying if you have any financial concerns.
    2. Early Action – if you apply and are accepted, you don’t have to accept and usually have until May 1 to decide. Application deadlines are typically mid-October through mid-November. Confirm with each school. You might choose this option if you want to know whether you can get into your reach school before you spend more money applying for regular admissions schools. Be sure to check if your chosen schools offer Early Action or Early Decision!
    3. Regular Admissions – the normal admissions process. If you apply and are accepted, you generally have until May 1 to decide. You usually don’t receive a decision until mid-March/April. Application deadlines typically fall between January 1 and January 15 for most schools. One big exception is the UC school system. These schools require submissions by November 30.
    4. Rolling Admissions – process by which schools make decisions as they receive applications. The earlier you apply, the sooner you’ll receive a response. If you wait too late, you increase the chance of landing on a wait list.

    Application Deadlines.

    Each school has its own deadline since there is no centralized application review committee. However, deadlines can be divided into four categories, generally:

  • UC schools: November 30.
  • Most early decision deadlines: between October 15 and November 15. Please check your target school’s deadlines ASAP!
  • Most regular admissions deadlines: January 1.
  • Rolling admissions: You should apply earlier (December to January) than later to lower your chance of getting wait-listed.
  • Tests: SAT or ACT

    Some schools accept either. Some don’t require any, and some schools require not only the SAT or ACT but also one or more SAT II subject tests, especially the writing test. As you narrow down your list of target schools, make sure to confirm which tests each school requires and register for each test immediately if you’re missing any required test scores.

    The SAT and SAT II Subject Tests. To register click here.

  • If you are applying for EARLY DECISION, the latest you should take the SAT is October 7. If you take the test any later, your scores might not be available before the admissions deadline.
  • For REGULAR ADMISSIONS, you must take the SAT by December 5 at the latest, especially if you want to see your scores before releasing them to the schools.
  • If you wait to release your scores to schools until after you have reviewed them, it will take an additional month for schools to receive those scores. You could opt for rush reporting. This service will send your RELEASED scores to colleges within two business days, but it’ll cost more than regular reporting ($31 v. $11.25). Note: Rush reporting is only available for scores that are already released. That means, opting for this service won’t speed up the grading process. Instead, your chosen schools will get scores faster after grading has been completed.
  • The College Board and Khan Academy have partnered to offer free, personalized practice at https://www.khanacademy.org/sat.
  • The table below summarizes the registration deadlines for the SAT and SAT II Subject Tests
  • 2020-21 SAT Administration Dates and Deadlines
    SAT Date SAT Subject Tests Available Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Deadline for Changes
    August 29, 2020Register See SAT Subject Tests available on this date July 31, 2020 August 11, 2020 (for mailed registrations)August 18, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone)

    Note: The late registration fee has been waived for the August administration.

    August 18, 2020
    September 26, 2020Register SAT Subject Tests not offered on this date August 26, 2020 September 15, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone) September 15, 2020
    October 3, 2020Register See SAT Subject Tests available on this date September 4, 2020 September 15, 2020 (for mailed registrations)September 22, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone) September 22, 2020
    November 7, 2020Register See SAT Subject Tests available on this date October 7, 2020 October 20, 2020 (for mailed registrations)October 27, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone) October 27, 2020
    December 5, 2020Register See SAT Subject Tests available on this date November 5, 2020 November 17, 2020 (for mailed registrations)November 24, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone) November 24, 2020
    March 13, 2021Register SAT Subject Tests not offered on this date February 12, 2021 February 23, 2021 (for mailed registrations)March 2, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone) March 2, 2021
    May 8, 2021Register See SAT Subject Tests available on this date April 8, 2021 April 20, 2021 (for mailed registrations)April 27, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone) April 27, 2021
    June 5, 2021Register See SAT Subject Tests available on this date May 6, 2021 May 18, 2021 (for mailed registrations)May 26, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone) May 26, 2021
  • The SAT II Subject Tests expected to be available for August 29, 2020are:
  • Literature
  • U.S. History
  • World History
  • Mathematics Level 1
  • Mathematics Level 2
  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • French (no listening)
  • Spanish (no listening)
  • The SAT II Subject Tests expected to be available for October 7, 2020 are:
  • Literature
  • U.S. History
  • World History
  • Mathematics Level 1
  • Mathematics Level 2
  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • French (no listening)
  • Spanish (no listening)
  • The SAT II Subject Tests expected to be available for November 4, 2020 are:
  • Literature
  • U.S. History
  • Mathematics Level 1
  • Mathematics Level 2
  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • French with Listening
  • German with Listening
  • Spanish with Listening
  • Chinese with Listening
  • Japanese with Listening
  • Korean with Listening
  • The SAT II Subject Tests expected to be available for December 5, 2020 are:
  • Literature
  • U.S. History
  • World History
  • Mathematics Level 1
  • Mathematics Level 2
  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • French (no listening)
  • Spanish (no listening)
  • Latin
  • The ACT Exam Dates. To register click here.

  • If you’re applying for EARLY DECISION, the latest you should take the ACT is September 9.
  • For REGULAR ADMISSIONS, you should take the ACT by September 17.
  • Similar to the case for the SAT, if you wait to release your scores to schools until after you have reviewed them, it’ll take an additional month for schools to receive those scores. You could opt for rush reporting once your scores have been released.
  • The table below summarizes the registration deadlines for the ACT:
  • If you have any questions about the application process or need assistance with your essays, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us on our website or by e-mail at edit@wordvice.com.And don’t forget to receive admissions essay editing for all your important college application essays. For additional tips on how to draft your college admissions essays, please feel free to check out our other articles!

    2020-2021 Test Dates (National)
    Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
    September 12, 2020
    September 13, 2020 (Sunday)
    September 19, 2020
    August 14 August 15 – August 28
    October 10, 2020
    October 17, 2020
    October 24, 2020
    October 25, 2020 (Sunday)
    September 17 September 18 – 25
    December 12, 2020 November 6 November 7 – November 20
    February 6, 2021 January 8 January 9 – January 15
    April 17, 2021 March 12 March 13 – March 26
    June 12, 2021 May 7 May 8 – May 21
    July 17, 2021* June 18 June 19 – June 25