When should high school students start applying to colleges?

Many students start college in the fall after they graduate high school, but their planning and applying starts years before.

Updated by Amrutha G.M on 25th April 2018

When do most of the high school students start applying to colleges?

Most of the high school students apply to college in their last year of high school. They finish their graduation in May or June and then start their college in September.

With the few different objectives, the schools provide multiple options to apply for college. The choices are as follows:

  1. Early decision, and
  2. Regular

Usually, Early admission starts in the month of November whereas Regular decision starts in the month of January or February.

1.Early Decision:

Early admissions will be best choices for the high school students who are willing to apply early and ready to receive early acknowledgement.  The applicant can only apply to one college at this time.

Early admissions have two choices, early decision and early action, where both the choices end with similar deadlines ie., November.

Merits of Early Decision:

  • Students get to have more free time to research on colleges they want to apply.
  • Students can visit the list of select colleges and take a proper decision regarding the selection of the college.

There are the following categories of students who should not apply for the Early decision:

  • Under-Qualified Students- When this category of students applies for early admission, they will be obviously rejected by the colleges because of their below average performance.
  • Over-Qualified Students- When this category of students applies for early admission, they will obviously be grabbed by the opted college.
  • Late Blooming Students- Students who show zero performance in middle school and suddenly boast them self to be one of the best in high school. For them, early admission will be the time barrier to prove they are deserving.
  • Undecided Students- For these students, early admission will not be that impactful.

 Most of the high school students apply for college under regular admission wherein its deadline fall in the month end of January.

Regular admission  :

Here, there are no restrictions on colleges you want to apply and get approved too. It provides more time to prepare for admission requirements. But, the time to take a decision after acceptance or rejection is less.


 If you are confident in which college you want to attend, an early decision might be the best choice for you. If not then it can backfire on you. So it would be adviced that take your time and make your decision wisely.

"Be patient. Some things take time. "