College Application Deadlines for Fall 2023 Admission

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  • Most applications will open August 1 for students applying for fall 2023 enrollment.
  • College deadlines most often fall between November and February.
  • Early admission means submitting your application sooner, usually by November.
  • Applying regular decision gives you more time to work on application essays and take exams.

Most college applications — including the Common Application and the Coalition for College — will open August 1, 2022, for those who plan to start college in fall 2023. That said, you may complete the general application components at any time before this date.

While most schools require similar application components, different admission options allow you to submit your application by different deadlines. The four basic options are early action, early decision, regular decision, and rolling admission.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

Regardless of when you apply, you'll likely need to submit a personal essay, 1-3 recommendation letters, official transcripts, and, if required, SAT or ACT scores.

College Application Deadlines for Fall 2023

The following table summarizes the most common college application deadlines for the four main admissions windows.

Application Deadline Admission Decision
Early Action November 2022 December 2022
Early Decision November 2022 December 2022
Regular Decision January/February 2023 March/April 2023
Rolling Admission Varies Usually within 4-6 weeks

Early Action Deadlines

Many schools offer early action deadlines, which entail applying early and receiving an early admission decision.

The most common early action deadlines are in early to mid-November. In general, you can expect to receive an admission decision in December.

Early action is a great option for those who want an early admission decision without having to commit to a school. Unlike early decision (see below), early action doesn't require you to commit to attending the school should you get admitted.

This admission option also doesn't require a response until the national May 1 deadline, giving you ample time to compare college offers.

One potential outcome of applying early action is deferment, or when your application gets pushed to the regular decision applicant pool. If this happens to you, reach out to the school and focus on strengthening your application for regular decision admittance.


Early Decision Deadlines

Similar to early action, early decision means applying to a college and getting an admission decision around mid-December. Some colleges offer two early decision deadlines (usually called Early Decision I and II).

Unlike early action, early decision comes with a binding agreement to enroll. In other words, if you get in, you must pay a nonrefundable deposit and immediately withdraw all of your other college applications. This is why students applying early decision should be completely set on attending a particular school.

One caveat of early decision is that you're entering an agreement without seeing your financial aid offer. For those depending on financial aid to cover most or all of their tuition, this could pose serious concerns.

Some schools may help you explore additional aid options, but adjustments aren't guaranteed.


Regular Decision Deadlines

Most students apply to college under regular decision. These deadlines commonly fall in January or February. Typically, you'll hear back from prospective schools in March or April and must follow up with your decision about whether to enroll by May 1.

As one of the widest application windows, regular decision ensures students have ample time to gather materials, prepare their essays, and take any required exams. These deadlines also give you additional time to carefully consider your college options.

The downside of waiting until the final application window means that if you get rejected, you'll have to wait until the following academic term or year to reapply. Alternatively, you could get waitlisted, which means you may or may not get accepted depending on whether any spots open up.


Rolling Admission Deadlines

Rather than maintaining set deadlines, colleges with rolling admission evaluate applications as they come in. These schools usually offer several application windows a year. In general, they'll accept and review applications until all spots in the upcoming class are filled.

Most rolling-admission colleges open up admissions around September 1. This window can last all the way through spring, depending on how many spots remain, though some schools may adhere to the May 1 deadline.

Many schools use a rolling admission policy to evaluate transfer applicants as well. Transfer students should begin the application process well ahead of their prospective school's posted application deadline. Each school maintains its own application window and transfer credit policies, so be sure you carefully read over these requirements before applying.

College Application Deadlines for 50 Popular Schools

Check out the table below to find the 2022-23 application deadlines for 50 popular colleges.

When to Apply for College in the Fall

Applying to college entails a considerable amount of planning. If you're in high school, try to request recommendation letters and take the SAT or ACT in 11th grade. This is especially important if you're planning to apply early action or early decision.

Early admission works best for students who are prepared to apply early their senior year. Often resulting in an admission decision by mid-December, these options give you plenty of time to relax and enjoy your final semester of high school.

Additionally, students who apply early may enjoy higher acceptance rates than regular decision applicants.

To meet an early deadline, begin the application process in the summer. Focus your efforts on writing your admissions essay, gathering letters of recommendation, and taking (or retaking) the SAT or ACT.

Still, most applicants opt for the regular decision window. For those who need additional time to compare schools or work on application materials, regular decision will likely be your best option. Be sure to request letters of recommendation by September, as teachers tend to get busy in late fall due to midterms and other recommendation requests.

Remember that no student is the same. If you don't feel your application is ready to submit by an earlier deadline, hold off until the regular decision deadline. Regardless of which deadline you choose, make sure you feel confident when you submit your application.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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