Priority Deadline vs. Procrastination: How It Impacts Your College Future

More and more employers look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

As a result, the race to get admitted to colleges and universities becomes more and more competitive among those who want to secure a high-paying career in the future.

Everyone who wants a spot will explore and try to do everything to get in, such as applying early.

November 1 is the usual early decision deadline at most colleges.

The priority deadline at most schools, usually those with rolling admissions, is also November 1 — most early decision and priority deadline applicants in the US submit their applications simultaneously.

However, unlike ED, the priority deadline is non-binding.

You can apply to other colleges or accept an institution’s offer to enroll even after getting an acceptance letter from a particular school where you applied for priority consideration.

Priority Deadline and Early Action: Are They One and the Same?

Here are the only things that priority deadline and early action have in common:

  • They are both early admission plans
  • They both allow students to hear back from colleges early

Their similarities end there — as earlier stated, a priority deadline is non-binding.

About not obliging accepted students to matriculate, the priority deadline is similar to early action in that both allow admits to decide whether or not to grab the offer to attend.

Technically, they are indeed the same!

Both are early application deadlines.

Both come with perks.

Both send admissions notifications early.

Such is why some colleges use the terms priority deadline and early action interchangeably, and it’s okay since they share the same set of rules and regulations anyway.

In most instances, institutions with rolling admissions use priority deadlines; the rest prefer to use early action.

The only thing that’s different between them?

Early action is a hard deadline, which means that the college will stop accepting EA applications after the given date — college applicants still have the regular decision deadline to beat.


It’s NOT a Hard Deadline

Here’s a crucial thing to know about the priority deadline for college: by no means it’s a final deadline.

So, what is priority deadline?

Again, a priority deadline is a staple admission plan at rolling admissions schools.

Admissions offices at schools with a rolling admissions policy accept college applications as they arrive and release admissions decisions whenever they are ready.

So, when will rolling admissions schools stop accepting applications?

When there are no more available slots to fill.

It’s not uncommon for colleges to fill around 50% to 60% of their incoming first-year class from early admission plans to ensure that no more vacant slots are available when classes begin.

Rolling admissions institutions continue accepting applications past the priority deadline.

Otherwise, many slots will remain available, which can lead to unfavorable circumstances such as dissolving some programs or majors, merging classes, and laying off some teachers.

Indeed, the school will still accept your application after the priority deadline.

However, you will no longer enjoy the benefits of applying earlier than everybody else.

The Many Perks of Priority Deadline Application

Beating the priority deadline means completing one’s college application early.

Depending on the application requirements of the rolling admissions school, you must act quickly in obtaining recommendations, writing your essays, etc.

However, the extra effort comes with incentives that can work to your advantage.

Increased Admissions Chances

Here are a couple of reasons why a priority deadline may boost your chances of getting in:

  • All (or almost all) slots are still available
  • Admissions officers are still fresh and energized
  • It’s a form of demonstrated interest

However, it’s still a must for your application to be worthy of priority admission.

Early decision and early action colleges, especially selective ones, cannot stress enough that many early applicants get in because most of them are competitive applicants than regular decision applicants.

priority deadline

Better Financial Aid Offers

No matter the source, financial aid money is not infinite.

That’s why it comes on a first-come, first-served basis.

The earlier you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the more aid opportunities are still around — scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.

Applying early ensures that there’s plenty of aid still available for you.

Whether you are eligible for merit-based or need-based aid, you can use a priority deadline to your advantage.

Also, since a priority deadline is non-binding, you can compare financial aid offers coming from different colleges, thereby allowing you to opt for one that requires the least family contribution.

Better Housing Options

Are you applying to a college where first-year students must live on campus?

Save yourself from making do with an inconveniently located residence hall or a cramped room by submitting your application before the priority deadline is over.

Numerous colleges with early admission plans provide admitted early applicants with priority selection for on-campus housing, enabling them to enjoy increased chances of getting the room they like.

As a result, they can have a living situation that suits their needs.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Early application is favorable for a high schooler’s mental well-being in different ways.

First, it allows students to receive early feedback from their top-choice universities, thus keeping them from being anxious and uncertain longer than necessary.

Unlike those who have yet to wait for the regular decision round!

Second, it lets them focus much better on the remaining weeks of their senior year of high school — suffering from senioritis is a no-no as it could cause a rescindment of their admissions offer.

Lastly, accepted or not, knowing admissions decisions fast lets students plan their college education well.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to applying to schools with priority deadlines, too:

  • Applying while your academic record is incomplete and does not fully reflect your capabilities
  • Competing with high-performing applicants, which results in decreased admissions chances
  • Creating unnecessary stress as you might feel rushed to beat the deadline
  • Failing to explore other options, including schools that are a better fit for you
  • Missing out on better financial aid offers from other colleges
  • Finalizing your future college plans before considering every possible path toward your career goal

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

Similar Posts