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I have some friends from undergrad (Philosophy) who applied last year, some were contacted within in the first week after the due date. I have feeling only those who are super stellar scholars get this kind of attention. I highly doubt that I am standout student. But I am curious If this is the same process in most programs? 

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I think being contacted that quickly is incredibly rare, no matter how stellar you are. Do you know which programs those were? Or if they had rolling admission? 

From the various professors I talked to, many admission committees don't even start reviewing applications until a week or more after the deadline (especially for deadlines between Dec 15 and Jan 10th, while the universities are on break). The earliest decisions usually come out in early February, according to people I've talked to and looking back through past years of reported decisions here on GradCafe. That might be stretched out even more this year with the pandemic and reported higher volume of applications. 

I'm trying to convince myself to not start panicking until March if I haven't heard back at all, but of course that's easier said than done lol

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