Our UW System campuses began accepting admission applications for the fall 2018 semester on September 1. Yes, that is a whole year ahead!
Do students who apply September 1 have an advantage over students who apply later? Yes and no.
There is nothing magical about the September 1 date. Applicants who applied on that date do not have an advantage over those who apply later in September. Admissions officers know the types of students who will be successful at their campus, and they don’t water down their admission criteria for early applicants.
Having said that, there are some really important, timely considerations to think about when applying for college.
The most important thing to consider is the application deadline or priority date of each campus. “Deadline” means that applications will not be considered after that date. “Priority date” means that the campus will consider all applications received by that date, and it will continue to accept applications if space remains available. You can find our campuses’ admission deadlines and priority dates here. Click Guidelines and then choose your campus of interest.
The sooner an applicant applies, the sooner he or she hears an admission decision—and that’s a plus. Most of our campuses have rolling admissions, which means that they constantly process applications in the order in which they receive them. They inform applicants with that decision as soon as they make it. UW-Madison is the exception. It informs earlier applicants of the admission decision by the end of January, and later applicants receive a decision by the end of March. The sooner students know an admission decision, the sooner they can buy a shirt with their campus’s logo.
Students must be admitted before they can receive a financial aid offer, so that is another advantage to applying for admission early. Along those lines, students should be aware of scholarship deadlines for different campuses, since students often need to be admitted before being offered scholarships. Some campuses begin to look at scholarship materials in late fall.
On-campus housing is extremely popular. Students are offered residence hall space based on their admission date. It follows that students who apply early have the best chance of securing space in a residence hall.
Some campuses send invitations to their summer orientation and registration sessions to admitted students in the order in which they receive applications. To have the largest selection of those dates, students should plan to be admitted early.
Students don’t need to apply today to get these advantages. Applying within the next couple of months is ideal. The early bird has a better chance of getting the worm.