Guide to College Applications, Part V: Application Deadlines

Without the proper guidance, college applications can be a crazy and confusing process. That’s why high school senior George Chen decided to share his dos and don’ts of applying to schools for APA students looking for a little help. Check back to see the later installments of this ongoing series, the 8Asians Guide to College Applications.

By George

In my previous posts, I talked about researching about schools, the different applications for UC schools, private schools and writing the personal essay, but now let’s talk about deadlines.

The UC App tends to be due at the end of November. In our case, it was due November 30th. Don’t submit it last minute because the server begins to severely lag and you may get disconnected in the middle of writing your essay. There have been some instances when the UC system had to move the deadline back because of server crashes.

Most good private schools tend to have their apps due the first of January or a few days prior to that. Some private schools push their deadlines as far as March because they don’t get enough applicants. But either way, it’s best to start early. This application determines what you will be doing in the next 4-5 years.

For USC, the deadline is the first of January, but to get scholarships, the application has to be turned in around the same time as when the UC App is due. Do try to apply for the scholarship. Being in debt is not something that should be praised.

There are other methods of applying to universities: one is called Early Action and another is called Early Decision. Yes, they are different in some aspects.

Some schools allow for Early Action, which means that you can submit an application early in November/ late October, and find out if you get in as early as mid-December. If you get into your first choice school through this, you’re home free and you don’t have to waste money and apply to other colleges.

Early Decision is the same thing as Early Action, but you have to sign a contract saying that you will matriculate into that school if you get accepted. There’s also a little loophole that says that you don’t have to go to that university if you don’t receive any financial aid, but do be careful with this. Apply through Early Decision only if you are 100% sure that this college is the place of your calling.

Also, no matter what, never ever doubt yourself wondering if you can get into the college of your dreams. Just apply; you may have something that your dream college wants that no one else has. Some students in my school were rejected from UCLA, but for some reason or another, they got into UCB, so do not be discouraged after receiving your first rejection. Have hope. Some students are super geniuses but were rejected from the Ivies because they didn’t do any extracurricular activities.

With that, remember to also apply to some safety schools. These colleges may be second or third-rate compared to the school that you want to go to, but getting accepted by them is much better than ending up nowhere (and for the record, the super geniuses that got rejected by the Ivies didn’t have any safeties. Not super geniuses anymore, huh?)

Next week, I’ll cover the area of extracurricular activities.

George Major Chen is a future Los Altos High School graduate who will be majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in the class of 2015.

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