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College Application Deadlines 2023-2024: What You Need to Know

A new college application season is around the corner. Therefore, it’s important that you know when your colleges’ deadlines are so that you can prepare as early as possible. To ease your college application process, we’ve compiled general information on 2023-2024 college application deadlines. We did our best to cover a wide variety of popular universities. Keep reading to find out 2023-2024 college application deadlines for regular decision, early action, early decision, and more!

When do college applications open for 2023-2024? 

The majority of college applications for the 2023-2024 application cycle open on August 1, 2023. This includes both the Common and Coalition Applications. Both applications allow you to apply to a wide variety of public and private institutions

General applications

If you’re looking to get a head start, however, you can complete the general application components at any time before August 1st (or after). Just know that you will not get access to specific college’s application components until the official “opening” date (August 1, 2022).

Proprietary applications

On the other hand, schools that use proprietary applications (meaning that they have their own specific applications that cannot be found on a platform like the Common or Coalition Application) typically open them in August or September. Specific dates vary by school, so we recommend you check beforehand!

What you’ll need to apply

In terms of school specific application components, they’re usually quite similar school-to-school, but certain components like essay questions may differ. On the bright side, though, school-specific essays are usually far shorter than the main application essay. Think ~250 words rather than 650, which is significant. 

No matter when and where you apply, there are some basic things you’ll need to submit to apply to colleges. These include:

  • College essay(s) 
  • Recommendation letters 
  • Official high school transcripts
  • Standardized test scores (if required)

Some colleges will require all of the above, while others, such as large public universities, might require only test scores and high school transcripts. 

So, now that we’ve gone over when applications open, when do they close? Let’s see!

Fall 2023 college application deadlines

As you may have heard, there’s different types of college application deadlines. These include early action, early decision, regular decision, and rolling admissions. We will supply you the typical deadline dates as well as general information on these types of deadlines. 

Transfer students – don’t think we forgot about you! We’ll also cover transfer deadlines and have a few helpful sources to help you through your college transition. Let’s start!

Early action deadlines

As indicated by the name, early action deadlines allow students to apply to colleges early. Students find out their admission decision before those who apply through regular decision usually applying in November and hearing back in December. If you want to hear back from colleges early without the pressure of having to commit to a school quickly, early action is a great option. As you do not have to accept/deny an admission offer until May 1, this gives you plenty of time to compare your options.

Early decision deadlines

Most early decision deadlines also fall in November. Students who apply early decision at this time usually hear back by December. If accepted, a nonrefundable deposit is sent to the school far in advance of May 1st (National College Decision Day). 

Many schools who offer early decision deadlines also have a second early decision deadline for students who didn’t apply to the first – with these second round deadlines often occurring sometime between early and mid-January.

Related: Early Decision and Early Action Notification Dates


If you’re not quite accepted to a school through early action, but not quite rejected, you may have been deferred. Being deferred means that your application has been pushed to the regular decision applicant pool, and will be reviewed once again amongst applicants who applied through regular decision. Being deferred isn’t the worst news- it gives you the opportunity to reach out to the school in the meantime and potentially improve your application (and thus, your admission chances too!).

Regular decision deadlines

Regular decision deadlines fall later than their early action and early decision counterparts, with most falling in early January. Students will typically receive their admission decisions in March and April. If accepted to a school after applying regular decision, applicants will have until the end of April (before National College Decision Day) to accept or turn down the admission offer.

Related: Regular decision notification dates

Rolling admissions

Now, let’s roll into rolling admissions! Colleges that offer rolling admissions do not have set deadlines. Instead, these universities review applications as they come in. They typically have several “windows” each year in which students can submit applications. Applications are accepted until all spots in the upcoming class are filled up. While they can remain open all the way into spring, some colleges will close them on May 1st.

The difference between early action and early decision 

We want to take a quick second to help you note the difference between these two admissions options. The biggest difference is that applying to a college through early decision includes a binding agreement, requiring students who are accepted through early decision to commit to that particular school. These students must also withdraw all their other college applications (to other schools). So, if you’re planning on applying to a university through early decision, we urge you to be 100% sure that you would be happy to attend that school. 

Transfer application deadlines

Last, but certainly not least, let’s go over transfer deadlines! For those planning on transferring to a new school, many transfer application deadlines fall between February and March, but some schools deadlines’ can even go farther into April or May. If this seems strange, just keep in mind that it’s quite common for transfer deadlines to fall later than or after schools’ deadlines for first-year students. 

Also, as a general rule, it is a good idea to start your transfer application process at the beginning of your last full semester at your current university (the one you’re transferring from). 

If you’re currently going through the transfer process and are looking for guidance or more information, we recommend checking out these sources:

When should you apply to college in the fall?

Yay! We’ve finished going over all the types of deadlines for your college application. Ultimately, however, there’s more to applying to colleges than just your application. So, when should you do everything else?

Great question. Applying to college is a long process, so it’s best to start early! While it’s fine to start some parts of the process during your senior year, it’s a good idea to take your standardized tests (if required) during your junior year of high school. 

Other components, like your essays, should be started as soon as possible, so you have enough time to really think through how you should answer the prompts. As for recommendation letters, you should make sure to ask for these at least a month before they’re due, to give your recommenders enough time to finish and answer any questions they may have.

If you are ready to apply early in your senior year, early action or decision might be a good option, as it may allow you to receive your decisions sooner and feel relatively more “relaxed” for the rest of the school year.

List of application deadlines at some popular colleges

To give you some context about college application deadlines, we’ve included a list of some popular colleges below and each of their deadlines for the 2022-2023 application cycle.

College NameEarly ActionEarly DecisionRegular Decision
Boston UniversityN/ANov 1, Jan 4Jan 4
Brown UniversityN/ANov 1Jan 3
Carnegie Mellon UniversityN/ANov 1, Jan 3Jan 3
Case Western Reserve UniversityNov 1Nov 1, Jan 15Jan 15
Columbia UniversityN/ANov 1Jan 1
Cornell UniversityN/ANov 1Jan 2
Dartmouth CollegeN/ANov 1Jan 2
Duke UniversityN/ANov 1Jan 3
Emory UniversityN/ANov 1, Jan 1Jan 1
Georgetown UniversityNov 1N/AJan 10
Georgia Institute of TechnologyOct 16, Nov 1N/AJan 4
Harvard UniversityNov 1N/AJan 1
Howard UniversityNov 1Nov 1Feb 15
Lehigh UniversityN/ANov 1, Jan 1Jan 1
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyNov 1N/AJan 5
New York UniversityN/ANov 1, Jan 1Jan 5
Northeastern UniversityNov 1Nov 1, Jan 1Jan 1
Northwestern UniversityN/ANov 1Jan 1
Princeton UniversityNov 1N/AJan 1
Rice UniversityN/ANov 1Jan 4
Stanford UniversityNov 1N/AJan 5
Tufts UniversityN/ANov 1, Jan 4Jan 4
UC BerkeleyN/AN/ANov 30
University of ChicagoNov 1Nov 1, Jan 2Jan 2
University of Illinois, Champaign-UrbanaNov 1N/AJan 5
University of Michigan – Ann ArborNov 1N/AFeb 1
University of Notre DameNov 1N/AJan 1
University of PennsylvaniaN/ANov 1Jan 5
University of Texas – AustinN/AN/ANov 1, Dec 1
University of Southern CaliforniaNov 1N/AJan 15
University of Wisconsin – MadisonNov 1N/AJan 16
Vanderbilt UniversityN/ANov 1, Jan 1Jan 1
Wake Forest UniversityN/ANov 15, Jan 1Jan 1
Washington University – St. LouisN/ANov 1, Jan 3Jan 3
Yale UniversityNov 1N/AJan 2

As you can see from our list, application deadlines vary widely, especially in their early decision and early action dates. Please note that the dates above are general deadlines that these schools put out. However, there may be different deadlines for specific programs or schools that are within your university. Check with each schools’ website to make sure you do not miss any important dates! 

What do I do if I miss the college application deadline?

If you are unable to submit your college application (or any component) by the deadline, there are a few things you can do. 

Contact the school directly 

We recommend that you contact the school’s admissions office directly. This allows you to explain the situation to them and ask if there is any way that you can still submit your application. When you get in contact, make sure you have an actual reason for missing the deadline – they may be less sympathetic if you simply forgot about the deadline. 

Write the admissions office a letter

You might also consider writing a letter to the admissions office. In the letter, detail why you missed the deadline and elaborate on why you are a good fit for that college. Hopefully, they will still let you submit your application. If not, you still have options, don’t worry!

Colleges with late application deadlines

If you have found yourself wishing you applied to more schools but most of the deadlines have already passed, don’t fret! There are actually many schools out there with later deadlines

A few more options for missed deadlines

If the missed deadline is your top-choice and you are determined to attend, there’s a few options. You can:

  • Wait a semester (or academic year) for the chance to re-apply
  • Accept the offer to another school you were accepted to, attend it for a year, and then transfer to your top-choice school
  • Attend a local community college, before transferring to your top-choice school

Ultimately, even if you missed the deadline for a particular school, just remember that it’s not the end of the world!  No matter what schools you’re applying to and what deadline, we highly recommend you check out the specific deadlines for your schools to make sure that you don’t miss any. Good luck meeting those college application deadlines!

Frequently asked questions about college application deadlines

Does early application increase chances of admission?

Generally, yes! Colleges’ acceptance rates tend to be higher for early action than for regular decision. The rate is usually highest for those who apply early decision. However, it is important to keep in mind that each school is unique. The differences in acceptance percentages (between regular and early action/decision) ultimately differ by school. For some schools, there may even be no differences in acceptance rates at all. So, there is no disadvantage to applying through early action unless you need to compare the financial aid offer with other schools.

Do colleges accept late recommendations?

Yes, they do. However, we recommend asking your recommenders and providing them with the necessary information about yourself early enough (at least a month in advance) so that they can submit your recommendation letters before the deadline. Although, if they do not get in before the deadline, colleges will not fault you for this – they know it was out of your control. Just make sure to submit your portion of the application by the deadline. If the college wants to know why a recommendation letter is late, they will likely contact your recommender directly.

What time of year should I start applying for college?

The sooner you can start applying for college, the better. Unless applying through rolling admissions, there is only a small window of time where you can submit all the necessary materials. While applications are closed, you can work on reading articles about how to best respond to application essays, gather letters of recommendation, take the ACT or SAT, and track down any other materials you may need.