|Georgetown is already accepting applications for fall 2016|
A surprising number of colleges and universities are already “open for business” for fall 2016 Some began as early as mid-June. Others are posting applications on their websites just as soon as they can get software retooled and ready to greet prospects for the class of 2020.
And some are members of the Common Application, which doesn’t officially go live until August 1.
But not everyone is too excited about the trend toward beginning the application year so early. School counselors, in particular, have no interest in encouraging applications weeks before they return to school.
“Obviously colleges do not realize that many high schools [that] use Naviance have a process in place for requesting transcripts and letters—eDocs is not available until August 1st,” explained a Pennsylvania-based school counselor. “I’d love for colleges to hold-off on the open apps in summer and wait till at least August 1st.”
And she’s not alone. Another school counselor complained that she starts getting transcript requests a couple of weeks after school closes—when she’s on summer break. “Some families get really annoyed that I won’t go in and do the paperwork for them, and my box fills with angry emails.”
Andrea Van Niekerk, an independent educational consultant (IEC) based in the Bay Area writes, “I have no doubt that in this, as in everything else we do, there are exceptions, but I would say that there is nothing to lose and possibly much to gain from sitting on an application a bit longer even if it is completed early, perhaps to review and reflect a bit more.”
The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) has made clear in the Statement of Principles of Good Practice that while colleges are free to open applications during the summer months, they may not “establish any application deadlines for first-year candidates for fall admission prior to October 15 and will give equal consideration to all applications received by that date.”
How this is interpreted and enforced remains in question particularly for those colleges that actually begin admitting students before October 15.
For example, Longwood University, in Farmville, Virginia, has what they call the “Immediate Decision” program: “Visit Longwood for a weekday information session and tour between June 15 and September 4, and we’ll let you know your admissions status when you return from your tour.”
Applicants simply need to apply online prior to the visit and bring or send ahead a high school transcript and standardized test scores.
In parts of the country, early openings are welcome. “Some of our kids here in the Houston area start school as early as mid-August, and on top of that, sports and band practices kick-in before August 1. Parents and students are both happy and relieved to know that relevant work can get done before school begins,” explained Joy App, a Houston-based IEC.
Also in Houston, Virginia Blackwell explains, “While it makes for a very busy time for those of us who are consultants, most of my students who are active in their extra-curriculars and take high level classes, want to get a lot of their part of the process out of the way well before their senior fall is underway so they can enjoy their semester and not feel swamped with everything.”
Evelyn Alexander, a California-based IEC agrees. “All applications ask for the same information and it’s convenient and a nice way to ease into the stressful applications if we can get some not-stressful ones done early, before the Common Application goes live…I always say that one of the reasons students and parents get so stressed out about college apps is that they wait too long to get started. Early is good! Let’s get started!”
And many are happy to make use of the Universal College Application (UCA) with its 43 colleges and universities, which has been open since July 1, to get started on or complete their applications.
Whether you support the trend or wish it would go away, the rush among colleges to start accumulating applications over the summer months seems here to stay. The following is a sample of the colleges that are already open for business for the class of 2020 (all such lists are subject to change; please check directly with colleges for most up-to-date information):
Abilene Christian University
Arizona State University
Boise State University
Bowling Green State University
Central Michigan University
Christian Brothers University*
Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Michigan University
Georgia Southern University
Iowa State University
Kansas State University
Montana State University
Oklahoma State University
Saint Leo University*
Saint Louis University*
Texas Christian University*
University of Alabama
University of Arkansas
University of Chicago (via the UCA)*
University of Idaho
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Minnesota
University of Mississippi
University of Montana
University of Tulsa (offers a $50 fee waiver for applying now online)*
University of Wyoming
*Members of the Common App with “alternate” applications that have already opened.