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Applying Early Vs. Applying Near the Deadline


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Does anyone know from past experience whether when you turn in your application influences anything?

Like, does turning in your application early mean you're more likely to be accepted? Turning it in by the deadline mean you're more likely to get rejected?

Has anyone turned in their application on the last day possible and still got accepted and received funding?

Also, what about hearing back? Is it always, the earlier you turn your app in, the earlier you will hear back? And the later you turn your app in near the deadline the later you will hear back?

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I don't think submitting at the last minute is a problem: I submitted almost all of my applications on the evening they were due (one of them I submitted the day after), and my supporting material was probably either right on time or a couple of days late. So far, I have 3 invitations to interview weekends from 6 applications (including the one that was late), so I'd say I've been hearing back both positively and quite quickly!

At least in psych, it seems like they divvy up all the applications to the professors you say you want to work with, then the profs each pick their favorites. They get together to have a meeting, and if everyone agrees with a prof's pick, they email or phone the applicant to let them know almost right away (every prof I've heard from contacted me the day of or the day after the meeting). So in this case, I don't think having your application in early would help much in terms of hearing back early, since you have to wait for the meeting date anyway. Other departments probably have different procedures, though.

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I've heard different things. I know people who applied the day before the deadline and got it. I know people who applied months before the deadline and didn't get in. I've heard every combination so I don't think there's a really good solid answer.

I recommend applying early. I've heard from someone in my cinema studies field who does grad admissions that you should apply early for the following reasons:

1. The earlier you apply the more chance you have of getting in. This is because

a. They aren't tired of looking at apps yet. If they see one they like they choose it and already

start building the class. If you apply late, they already have a good class put together and won't

know where to put you, so they will probably reject you.

b. some schools are strict and if you are missing something from your file they reject you if it is

not postmarked by the deadline. Submitting your app early will catch mistakes that you can fix

BEFORE the dealine and keep you in the race.

Everyone finds out if they got in or not at the same time. Submitting your app earlier doesn't mean you'll hear earlier. the committee does all meet at once and makes the descisions at once and lets everyone kow at once as well for the most part. They do look at apps in the order they were recieved. I know alady who turned her app in after the deadline and still got in!

An admissions book I read once said send them in early because some schools do look at apps a few times throughout the season and most people apply later so sending in your app early means there are less people to compare your app too which is a good thing.

I once worked briefly in an office at a top school that dealt a little with admissions (this was undergrad admissions though so it's probably different) and this lady there said sometimes they don't even get a chance to look at apps that came in on time--but they still cash the app checks!

Despite everything I said above, I think that generally speaking it doesn't matter when you turn it in so you'll be fine if you turned it in later.

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As the others have mentioned, "generally speaking it doesn't matter". However, a few schools actually mention on their websites that they start looking early and prefer early applicants (UPenn philosophy, for one), so keep your eyes open for that.

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I think it varies from program to program and from school to school. For what's it worth, however, an excerpt from WUSTL's History Department's website:

1) Apply early

There are several reasons to submit your application several weeks before the deadline. First, in case you forget to include something or a part of your application is delayed in the mail, we have time to let you know so you can get your application completed before the deadline. Second, if we get your application early, we have more time to read it carefully before the flood of last-minute submissions. Sometimes this enables us to contact you and solicit additional information that strengthens your application. We rarely have time to do that with the 100 or so applications that arrive in late December.

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you need to check if the program has rolling admissions. If they do, the earlier you apply, the better. If they don't the only problem with applying right before the deadline is supplementary materials which tend to get lost frequently.

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I applied to 4 schools, all of them within 3 hours of the midnight deadline. None of them got my transcripts or GRE's before the deadline.

I have heard back with invitations for interviews from 3 of those 4 schools so far.

So I would say they understand that people need time to get their recommendations, transcripts and scores in. Most schools don't start sifting through their apps until a little after the deadline (usually after New Year's).

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I don't think it really matters. Most of the schools I applied to sent me emails along the lines of, "Now that the deadline has passed, we're going to begin cataloging materials" followed by another email, usually a week or two later, that said, "Now that we're done cataloging materials, the admissions committee will begin looking at applications."

I had one professor that sent her rec letter for me to the school in mid-November. I submitted the application the day before it was due, December 15.

They just TODAY marked on my status web page that the rec letter was received. 2 months later.

I second the above poster that remarked on the difference between a hard deadline and a rolling deadline. In the latter, the date you send in your app definitely matters.

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