A timeline for college applications

An early start with college applications helps meet competing demands.

An early start with college applications helps meet competing demands. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This batch of class 12 students, applying in India and abroad, is dealing with a lot of new stuff. So, here is a guideline on how to manage the competing demands over the next few months.


Testing: Finish any residual tests to apply abroad, be it IELTS, SAT or ACT. For those applying in India, try some practice tests from Ashoka, Flame, O.P. Jindal, and so on, and plan for any preparation you may need. 

Art and design: Those applying to design colleges in India should start preparing for the design entrance tests in January. Those applying to foreign colleges need to start filling in the gaps in their portfolios.  

Essays and forms: This is also the best time to start on several critical application documents that demand several hours of preparation like the basic Common App/Coalition App personal essay, a Statement of Purpose that showcases the “why” of your course choices, and a CV that brings together your profile and achievements! Starting early means that you can try multiple approaches, research, revise and edit numerous times! For those applying to American colleges, working on your UC essays is an excellent way of exploring four different aspects of your personality to showcase to colleges. Requests for Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) from teachers and counsellors also need to be submitted at this time to give them enough time.

Applications: The UCAS, Common App and Coalition App are all open. So this is a good time to set up your basic profile.


School exams: Most schools conduct term exams in September that impacts the predicted grades and for those applying abroad this can be as critical as the final boards. 

Testing: Those applying to Oxbridge and other colleges in the U.K. that have required admission tests will need to apply for their tests by September 30. 


College list: October is when most students get a sense of where their predicted grades will land. Colleges in the U.K. are very clear about the grades needed for each course, so you can finally be sure of which five colleges you want to apply to. At least one safety college is recommended. 

Forms, essays: Early deadlines are round the corner so it is critical to choose the Early Decision, Restrictive Early Action and Early Action applications. Those who started on their essays in August (and completed them by October) should be able to apply to as many as five colleges in the early rounds without much pain. Now is the time to double down on essays. 

The CSS profile — a required form to apply for need-based aid in the U.S. — opens on October 1, and it is advisable to fill it earlier rather than later. 

Art and Design: Several entrance tests like the Design Aptitude test (DAT) and UCEED forms open in October with November deadlines.

Testing: Make sure to send all your scores officially to each college you apply to. These can often take up to two weeks to reach colleges so send them out before October 15. 

Those applying to Oxbridge will need to do so by October 15. Several Cambridge admission tests like BMAT, ENGAA and TMUA would be conducted this month with Oxford tests like TSA, PAT or MAT in early November.


Applications: The action begins. Most U.S. colleges have November 1 deadlines, UToronto has an early deadline on November 7, there are some November 15 deadlines,  the University of California app has a November 30 deadline, and Ashoka University in India has its Round 1 deadline in November. Making several early applications will ease the pressure in later months when applications compete with school exams for your attention.


Applications: This will probably be the most demanding month in terms of competing priorities. December 1 is the scholarship deadline for some popular U.S. and Canadian universities like the University of Southern California, Boston University and the University of British Columbia. 

Several India colleges have their early deadlines in December including Flame, O.P. Jindal and Azim Premji. This usually includes essays, a basic test (for those who have not taken the SAT or ACT) and an interview. 

Those who applied to UToronto in November will have a supplementary application deadline for the same in December. 

School Exams: Most school conduct pre-boards in this month as well. 


Applications: Most U.S. colleges have deadlines between January 1 and 15 with multiple essays for each submission. Most Canada deadlines are January 15 and the UCAS has a January 26 deadline. Ashoka has its second admission round in January. 

Art and Design: Students have to submit all portfolios for colleges abroad. The DAT and UCEED entrance tests for design admissions in India are usually held in January.

February: Exam time for most Indian boards. Also several Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines for Flame, O.P. Jindal and other Indian Universities. 

March: Most acceptances from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. come in by March, as do early round decisions for Indian colleges. Most other Indian colleges will open their forms in March with April to June deadlines.

If you have played your cards right, you will have been accepted in one of your dream colleges by now.

The writer is Founder and CEO, Inomi Learning, a Gurugram-based career and college guidance firm.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 6:57:42 pm |