Ideal College Application Timeline

Filling up admissions forms can be a taxing process. In this article, we discuss the ideal and most efficient timeline for college admission process. To know more, dive into the piece..

TCM Staff

27th August 2020

College application timeline and it's compilation and submission of college applications are usually seen as a time consuming and arduous endeavor. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. 

In this article, we're here to help you to keep up with the timeline of college applications. 

What is the timeline for applying to college?

Usually, all college applications consist of your academic achievements and extracurricular laurels.

It is perceived as quite a hassle due to the time crunch and inevitable procrastination on your end.

Determine the application deadlines for each of your target schools—Early decision and early action applications are typically due in November of your senior year, while most regular admissions applications are due between January 1 and March 1.

College Application Timeline

Starting with your junior year there are tests to write and prepare for. Along with internships and summer programs to apply to. Additionally, once you reach your senior year there are a number of essays and resumes to be submitted.

There is also the hassle of selecting a college that would fit your requirements.

Given below is a comprehensive timeline that would essentially reduce any worries regarding college applications. 

September (junior year)

This is ideally the best time to start looking out for potential scholarships that fit your requirements and financial needs.

Although most scholarships have their deadline in your senior year there are certain criteria that must be submitted at this time.

Also, some scholarship programs show preference to early applicants.

Mid-September (junior year)

During this time you should seriously start compiling a list of potential colleges. You should also start training for your PSAT with the help of your guidance counselor to get a good PSAT score.

The advantage of compiling a list of potential colleges right now is that you have a good idea of your environment.

This would allow you to start planning for demonstrated interest to impress the board of admissions. Utilize your guidance counselor for all of this. 

October (junior year)

This is usually the time of year you would start writing your PSATS. The registration for the ACT and the SAT would also be available. 

November (junior year)

November is ideal when you should start contacting the representatives of the colleges you have shortlisted as potential places you would want to study at.

This is so you can gather the prerequisites for admissions to fulfill it.

December (junior year)

December is usually when application forms for a variety of summer programs and internships go out.

This is the time to carefully select and curate programs and internships that would make your college portfolio look colorful and well rounded. 

January (junior year)

This time is perfect for administering for your ACT as well as touring potential college campuses and collegiate fairs. 

February (junior year)

This time is ideal for compiling your first draft of your resume. This resume is the first look at what you are eventually gonna send to your shortlisted colleges. There is no harm in planning your resume even though you will be realistically sending it only next year. 

March (junior year)

This time is when you should check confirmation with your AP teachers to prevent any conflict of exams and tests that would hinder your schedule. 

April (junior year)

SAT test dates released. 

May-June (junior year)

Start requesting recommendations from your teachers in order to really complete your portfolio and resume. These recommendations would really stand out to the board of admissions.

Senior Year Timeline

Senior Year is full of excitement and stress. We all know the feeling of anticipation when we have to manage our classes, extracurricular activities and register for university-level courses.

We're here to help you organize your time and activities. It helps you to make your priorities clear according to months and their deadlines. 

Given below is the ideal and most efficient timeline for an individual in his/her senior year at high school:

Summer Before

Ideally, the summer before you should have spent it touring potential campuses in order to determine which college meets all your requirements.

The summer can also be spent attending college fairs in order to establish demonstrated interest with the board of admissions. 

July -August

During this period you should strive to finalize your college list and shortlist all potential campuses.

This also where you work consistently on both academics and extracurriculars to establish a good resume. 

September- October

This period should be spent researching and compiling any essay topics to be read by the board of admissions of potential colleges.

This time should also be spent checking and rechecking the teacher’s recommendation letters. 


This is when you should fill up a counsel and compile the last few drafts of your resume. Start applying to your potential colleges with your resumes and art or extracurricular supplements.

January - February

We await your waitlist or acceptance letter and start planning for how you would tackle the college major you have chosen.


In conclusion, the above timeline has been created for the average high - schooler, but at the same time, this is a highly subjective matter as everyone can make or take a different route to get to where they want to go.

This timeline is tried and tested as the most productive and proficient method to be as efficient as you possibly can. 

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