College application deadlines vary among schools, and there is no one common deadline among U.S. colleges. Most college application deadlines fall between January and March. However, some schools do not have deadlines.
Each school in the United States sets its own deadlines independently based on admissions patterns and its own application evaluation process. Many schools have deadlines that fall between January 1 and March 15. April 1 is the national notification date in the United States, and many schools prefer to receive all applications well in advance of this time. Most schools require a response to an acceptance by May 1.
Many schools offer multiple deadlines based on certain types of applications. Early decision is an application option that many schools offer for early acceptance. Most early decision deadlines occur between November 15 and January 1. Early decision acceptances are binding at most schools, which means that the school expects the applicants to accept a place in the incoming class without further deliberation upon acceptance. Students who choose not to apply early decision can apply under the terms of a regular decision.
Some schools offer rolling admissions rather than setting a hard deadline. Schools with rolling admissions accept applications on an ongoing basis and offer acceptance letters within a set time frame upon receiving an application. For example, some rolling admissions schools promise a response within four to six weeks. When the school fills all its spots, the admissions process closes. Students should submit all applications earlier rather than later no matter what admissions system a school uses.