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Upcoming Deadlines in College Planning

If you’re a financial advisor in the college planning space, this is your busiest time of year. With families helping their sophomores and juniors start to prepare for college, and seniors submitting applications, it’s critical that you help your clients stay up to date and on track with application deadlines. This is a brief overview of some of the most important deadlines coming up.

FAFSA Deadline

October 1st – Application Opens

The deadline for high school seniors to submit their FAFSA is on October 1st. This is an incredibly important factor if they want to receive aid for their freshman year of college. Helping parents stay on top of this deadline might mean personal phone calls or a reminder via email. The sooner your clients are able to submit their information, the sooner you can help them calculate what type of aid they can expect.

Early Decision


If your client’s high school senior already knows where they want to attend college, early decision can take a lot of the emotional pressure to choose a school out of the equation. Applicants have the advantage of being in a smaller admissions pool and having their application viewed first by admissions officers. However, early decision applicants are locked in to attend the school they’re applying to if accepted. This could be problematic if a student doesn’t receive the aid they need to make attendance a comfortable fit.

Early Action


Early action is slightly more flexible than early decision, and the deadlines are similar. You don’t have to commit to attending the schools you’ve applied to under early action and can apply to multiple early action and regular decision colleges. The benefit of early action is that students can get financial aid offers and acceptance notices sooner – making the financial planning process easier.

Regular Decision


Regular decision applications are the more “traditional” applications to submit. There is no limit to the number of regular decision applications students can submit, and it buys them more time to retake ACTs for a higher score, or to determine which schools are the best financial fit for them.

Unfortunately, with regular decision schools, students won’t hear back on whether they’re accepted until later in their second semester of senior year – which can cause both emotional and financial stress. Even if your client’s high school senior is applying regular decision, it’s wise to submit applications early to gain a clear picture of financial aid and admissions acceptance early on.

Rolling Admission

Rolling admission works somewhat differently than other, more traditional, admission windows. Schools that offer rolling admission look at applicants as they come in, and notify students of acceptance within a few weeks of application. Other admissions processes wait to look at applications until the submission deadline, and students have to wait to hear back about acceptance until after all applications are processed.

Rolling admission also offers a good option to clients who may not have been happy with financial aid offerings from schools where they were previously accepted since deadlines are often more flexible for application.

CAP Can Keep You Organized

Struggling to keep your college planning season dates organized for each of your clients? With the CAP tool, you’re able to enter application deadlines and key dates for each school on your client’s application list to keep everyone on task.

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