It’s December 31, the last day of 2014 and the day on which I’m going to beg applicants to resolve to be kind to themselves in 2015. Yes, the kind thing to do is to submit your application on a day that is earlier than January 10.
You can certainly make the choice to be that person who emails me on the morning of the 10th asking whether the deadline refers to the close of business or 11:59 p.m. (Or, we can skip that step — the deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST on the 10th.) Why, for the sake of all that is admission-worthy, would you do that? Instead, pick your own personal target deadline — January 9 at 1:00 p.m. sounds enticing — and submit the application then.
You may wonder what benefit there could be to submitting early, especially because an early application doesn’t increase your likelihood of gaining admission. The benefits are partly internal (your peace of mind on the 10th, when you know that your fellow applicants are super stressed) and partly practical. The 10th is a Saturday and the office will be closed. On the 9th, if you encounter any sort of technical problem, you’ll be able to call us and fix it. If you aim even earlier than the 9th — the 5th for example — you may even receive confirmation that your application is complete before other people have submitted theirs!
I hasten to add that you should not submit an incomplete or sloppy application ahead of the deadline, solely for that peace of mind that I referred to. I’m making the assumption that you’ve been working on this for some time, and all that’s holding you back is a vague sense that you shouldn’t yet press “go.” I’m here to tell you to do it! Submit that completed application, and then relax.