The 2017 College Prep Calendar

Posted by Tom Rose on Thursday, November 10, 2016
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Rose

Tom is a career educator and technologist. He has been a professional test preparation tutor for over a decade and is the co-founder of Testive. Tom started Testive at MIT, after spending years as a highly paid private SAT and ACT tutor, to provide students with personalized, efficient and affordable test prep

College applications involve a ridiculous number of deadlines to keep track of, and it can easily become overwhelming. To help make sure you're addressing every aspect of the application we've put together a list of every important date you'll need to know if your student is applying to college in 2017.

If your child is a senior: Hopefully you've already gotten started on your college application process by now, but it's not too late if you haven't! Below is advice on how to make sure you don't lose any time completing every college application requirement.

If your child is a junior: Good for you for getting started so early! We have included all the dates you need to know to start checking off that list of requirements.

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General College Application

This includes dates for the Common Application, Early Action or Early Decision applications, and secondary supplements. It's important to keep in mind that every school has a different process and the best way to find out what a specific school's requirements are is to go to their website.

Common Application

Not all schools will use the Common App, but most private institutions and a good number of public schools require it.

The deadline for your Common App submission coincides with your Early Action/Decision or Regular Decision application deadline.

We highly recommend getting started on the Common App earlier as most schools will have a secondary supplement application to complete.

Things that are required in the Common App include:

Early Action

Early Action gives you the chance to submit your application a few months before the Regular Decision deadline. While you'll have to complete and gather all of your materials sooner, applying Early Action lets you stand out and can put you in a good light admissions committee.

In some cases of Early Action, there is a rolling admissions process. This means the earlier you apply, the sooner you're likely to hear back as applications are reviewed as they come in. In these cases, Early Action is beneficial since schools will accept students until they fill their quota. While there are separate quotas for Early Action and Regular Decision, there will be less competition for the Early Action slots.

While there are a couple of different potential outcomes for Early Action applicants, we'll focus on the important deadlines to know:

Early Decision

Similar to Early Action, Early Decision gives you a chance to submit your application earlier and get ahead of the crowd. But be careful—Early Decision applications are binding. Students can only apply to one college Early Decision.

If a student is accepted by a school to which they applied Early Decision, they must attend. If you are unable to attend — due to a financial or personal situation — first talk with the financial aid department before deciding that it's impossible to attend. Applying Early Decision requires signing a contract, which should not be overlooked.

Choosing between Early Action and Early Decision is a difficult choice and should be considered fully before pursuing either option. Important deadlines to know:

Regular Decision

Most students will be applying to college Regular Decision, with deadlines falling after the first semester of senior year. That gives students a chance to include their first semester grades as part of their academic transcript—if getting your most recent grades on your application is a priority, then Regular Decision may be your best bet.

Important deadlines to know for Regular Decision applications:

Secondary Supplements

In addition to the Common App, many schools will also require their own supplement. This can be completed on the Common App site if the school participates in the Common App, but will have to be done on the school's individual website if not.

These supplements tend to include:

Application Fees

While applying to college usually isn't as expensive as actually going, there are a number of associated fees. Most range from $40-$90, and can be paid in a number of ways (or waived).

Standardized Tests and Scores

Most schools will require either the SAT or ACT as part of the application. As always, check their website to determine whether they accept both SAT and ACT and whether they require writing as part of the test.

To compare an SAT score to its equivalent ACT score, or vice versa, use an ACT and SAT conversion chart.

Make sure that your student is spending at minimum a few months to prep for the exam (we recommend around 100 hours over 3-4 months!) and using the SAT or ACT prep course that is right for them.


If your child is a junior, we recommend taking the test twice in junior year. Take the test first in the fall/winter and then again in the spring so that your child has time to improve their score if needed.

If your child is a senior, hopefully you've already taken the test at least once before to get a feel for the exam. The final test should be taken fall of senior year as this is one of the last times to get scores back in time to send to colleges.


SAT

The best place to find SAT test dates is CollegeBoard. This is where you'll register for the SAT and where your scores will be reported once they've been released. Below are US SAT test dates. For international students, see international SAT test dates.

SAT Test Date Normal Deadline Late Registration* Online Scores Released
12/3/2016** 11/3/2016 11/22/2016 12/22/2016
1/21/2017 12/21/2016 1/10/2017 2/23/2016
3/11/2017 2/10/2017 2/28/2017 4/13/2017
5/6/2017 4/7/2017 4/25/2017 6/8/2017
5/6/2017 4/7/2017 4/25/2017 6/8/2017
6/3/2017 5/9/2017 5/24/2017 7/12/2017

*Late Registration is one week earlier if you are registering by mail.

**This is the last possible date for seniors applying to start in Fall of 2017 to take the test to have scores back in time to send to schools. Only if applying Regular Decision.

SAT Registration Fees

There are a few potential fees associated with registering for the SAT. Fee waivers are available on the CollegeBoard website if you are eligible.

Test Fee (No Writing) Test Fee (With Writing) Late Registration
$45 $57 $28
Change of Date/Center Waitlist Additional Score Report Request
$28 $46 $12

Extensive information on dates and fees can be found on the College Board website.

ACT

You can find everything you need to know about ACT test dates and requirements on the ACT website. This is where you'll register for the exam and get your scores. Below are US ACT test dates. For international students, see international ACT test dates.

If you took the ACT with writing, the multiple-choice scores will be released first. Your scores will then be officially reported when your writings scores are added.

ACT Test Date Normal Deadline Late Registration Multiple-Choice Score Posted Official Score Report
12/10/2016* 11/4/2016 11/5-11/18/2017 12/20/2016 2/3/2017
2/11/2017** 1/13/2017 1/14-1/20/2017 2/22/2017 4/7/2017
4/8/2017 3/3/2017 3/4-3/17/2017 4/18/2017 6/2/2017
6/10/2017 5/5/2017 5/6-5/19/2017 6/20/2017 8/4/2017

*This is the last possible date for seniors applying to start in Fall of 2017 to take the test to have scores back in time to send to schools. Only if applying Regular Decision.

**No test in New York for February test date.

ACT Registration Fees

There are a few potential fees associated with registering for the ACT. Fee waivers are available on the CollegeBoard website if you are eligible.

Test Fee (No Writing) Test Fee (With Writing) Late Registration
$42.50 $58.50 $27.50
Change of Date/Center Standby Testing Additional Score Report Request
$25 $51 $12

Extensive information on fees and dates and the test in general can be found on the ACT website.

Transcript

Your student's grades are a crucial part of their application as they reflect how they've performed over the past four years. The transcript must be sent through your high school to ensure that it is an official transcript.

The transcript includes grades earned throughout high school and a cumulative GPA, either "unweighted", "weighted", or both.

Talk to your student's guidance counselor on how to request a transcript and how to input which schools to send it to. You should be talking to your counselor ASAP as it will take time to gather all of the materials and send it off.

Recommendations

Most schools will require recommendations, either as part of the Common App or separately if they don't use the Common App. The standard number of application is two, but we suggest asking three teachers just in case.

Choosing the right teachers to ask for recommendations can make or break your student's application. There have been many cases of qualified students who because of a not-so-great recommendation, did not get accepted to their top choice school.

These should be teachers who:

If your child is a senior, hopefully they've already asked at least two teachers for recommendations by now and those teachers should be almost done with the recommendations. Don't be afraid to have your student politely check in with the teacher to make sure it will be done on time. And afterwards, make sure to thank them!

If your child is a junior, the end of junior year is a good time to start thinking about recommendations. At the latest you want to ask at the beginning of senior year to give teachers enough time to write a good recommendation.


Financial Aid

One of the most complicated, but necessary, parts of the application process is financial aid. The Massachusetts Education Financing Authority's presentation on college financing gives a good explanation of the different ways to get financing and how to apply.

College Financing from Lisa Allard
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the main requirement when applying for financial aid. The FAFSA opened on October 1st, 2016. Deadlines vary by state of legal residence and what school year you're applying for aid, so make sure to check on the FAFSA website.

Interviews

Not every school will require, or even offer an interview, but just in case they do, it's good to be prepared! The interview will usually be conducted by an admissions officer or a college alumni and is a good chance for them to learn about you and your personality, while also giving you a chance to ask any questions you might have about the school. These will happen after you've submitted all of your application materials and before any decisions are released.

Optional Credentials and Application Updates

For students applying to a specialized program such as art, architecture, music, dance or theater, you may be asked to submit a portfolio of your work. Make sure to check if your school has such requirements, but there is also an additional information section in the Common Application where students can upload any extra information they wish to share with colleges.

For students who wish to update their application after the original deadline, many guidance counselors may be willing to send a mid-semester update some time during the spring semester. This may include any awards that your student has won, accommodations they've been given or generally anything that might bolster their application. Remember this is just an update, so you will have had to submit the full application by the original due date first.

Additional Testing

Depending on the college you are applying for, or whether you are international, you may be required (or suggested) to take additional tests.

SAT Subject Tests

You may also hear these referred to as the SAT II tests. These allow students demonstrate mastery in a specific area and can potentially give your student an edge over the competition. Check with the schools your student is applying for to see if the SAT II is required or recommended. Most SAT II test dates coincide with SAT test dates, but not all subjects are offered each date. Make sure to check which subjects are available when signing up.

Test Date Normal Deadline Late Registration* Online Score Released
12/3/2016** 11/3/2016 11/22/2016 12/22/2016
1/21/2017 12/21/2016 1/10/2017 2/23/2016
3/11/2017 2/10/2017 2/28/2017 4/13/2017
5/6/2017 4/7/2017 4/25/2017 6/8/2017
6/3/2017 5/9/2017 5/24/2017 7/12/2017

*Late Registration is one week earlier if you are registering by mail.

**This is the last possible date for seniors applying to start in Fall of 2017 to take the test to have scores back in time to send to schools. Only if applying Regular Decision.

TOEFL

If your student is from a non-English speaking country or is a non-native English speaker, they may be required to take the TOEFL to show proficiency in English. Check with every school you're applying for to see if this is required.

Test Date Mail-in Registration Deadline Online Registration Deadline Approx. Score Report Mailing Date
11/12/2016 9/26/2016 10/14/2016 12/14/2016
1/7/2017 11/14/2016 12/2/2016 2/8/2017
4/1/2017 2/13/2017 3/3/2017 5/3/2017

Time to Get Applying!

We've definitely bombarded you with a lot of dates and resources, but you're interested in diving deeper into the college admissions process, we've put together a College Admissions Academy lesson series to help you conquer every part of the college admissions process.

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