I know I said this last year, but I’m going to say it again for this year’s applicants: you don’t need to wait until the application deadline to submit your materials. The deadline, after all, refers to the final date on which you can submit your application. Waiting until the last minute means that any problems you encounter may not be solvable in time.
I certainly encourage you to take the time you need to write your essays, but I suggest that you aim to press the submit button a reasonable period in front of the deadline. And, you should already have nagged your recommenders, taken your standardized tests, etc.
The first of the upcoming deadlines is January 1 for PhD applicants. If you’re one of these prospective students, you should also take into consideration the time it will take for your thesis to reach us by mail. Please don’t hold those supporting materials until the last minute — you’ll want to give us the time we need to review your application carefully.
Everyone else has at least until January 15 but, as I’ll say each year, don’t wait until the last minute!