When Do College Applications Open for Fall 2021?

You are thinking about all of the work you need to do to get into college, of which one is completing your college applications. Well, when do applications open for Fall of 2020 so you can get started? Here is a breakdown of upcoming open dates by application type.

Open Date for the Common Application

The Common App is the application where 800+ colleges participate so you can complete one, single application rather than multiple applications (the general part of the application, including your primary essay). It will be sent to all of the schools that you designate. Here is the beautiful thing about the Common App – the application opens on August 1, 2020 for students who are looking to start college in Fall 2021, BUT you can begin completing the general portion of the Common App any time prior to that, starting 8/1 of the prior year, i.e., 8/1/19. We typically begin working with our students on the general portion of their Common App the spring and early summer prior to their senior year, from May to the end of July. Once August 1 comes, you can log onto the Common App and your application that you already started working on will be automatically be converted over to the new Common App. Voila!

Open Date for the Coalition Application

The Coalition App is similar to the Common App. It was developed and rolled out about five years ago. There are 140+ colleges that participate in the Coalition Application, many of which also participate in the Common App. My advice to you is, if a college you want to apply to is on the Common App and the Coalition Application, use the Common Application. It is just easier to use. The Coalition Application continues to make updates for easier use, but the Common App is just more straightforward at this time. There are some schools that use the Coalition exclusively (Example: University of Maryland – You will need to complete the Coalition Application if you are applying there) or just use the Coalition and their own Proprietary Application (More to follow on Proprietary Applications). When does it become available? The Coalition Application is open to you starting in ninth grade! Again, just like the Common App, we begin to work with our students on completing the general part of their Coalition Application May – end of July prior to their senior year.

Open Date for Proprietary Applications

What do I mean by “Proprietary”? These are applications that are specific to a single school and can only be used to apply to that school. Some examples are Virginia Tech, James Madison, Rutgers, University of Alabama and MIT. Some schools, like Virginia Tech, have their own proprietary application but also participate in a general format application, such as the Coalition or Common App (Virginia Tech uses the Coalition and not the Common App, at least as of when this blog was posted). When do proprietary applications open? It varies. MIT becomes available mid-August (and they use their proprietary application exclusively), Rutgers becomes available early September. So, you need to check on each individual college’s website to see when their proprietary application becomes available and once it does, get started pronto!

My advice to you when it comes to colleges that have a proprietary application as well as participate in the Common App or Coalition, use the general format application vs. the proprietary application. They become available sooner, which means you can work on them sooner. My philosophy, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

So, get started! Work on those applications as soon as you can.

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