Sticking to nitty-gritty admissions subjects today, I want to address a question that came up not in my survey (responses still welcome!) but in yesterday’s online chat. No one actually asked the question directly, so I’m going to need to frame it myself. The question: I’m racing to complete my application before the November 15 Early Notification deadline, and I’m worried that it won’t be as good as it could be. What should I do?
The Early Notification (EN) deadline serves applicants well in offering them the opportunity to learn before the end of 2015 that they are admitted to Fletcher for the Fall 2016 semester. Whether they use that information simply to bask in the glow of success or to start serious planning is up to them. Students who aren’t admitted may be less satisfied with the result, but they can take the information and use it to shape the list of schools to which they’ll apply in January. In other words, there are plenty of reasons you may want to aim for our Early Notification deadline to kick off your application process.
On the other hand, there is no admissions advantage to applying early. We look at the EN applications with the same standards and expectations that we will employ in reviewing the applications we receive in January. So if you are concerned that you will submit a sub-par application, it may be best for you to pass on the EN deadline. You can still submit your application well before the January deadline, but you don’t need to rush right now.
The exception to the above would be where you are submitting an application you are 100% happy with, but your GRE scores will arrive five days late. Or one recommendation will arrive a little late. Or you will be unable to upload your official transcript until November 17. In those situations, go ahead and submit the application. It takes us a few days to review each application and mark it as complete, and there will be no penalty for a late recommendation if your high-quality application arrives before the November 15 deadline.
Cutting corners to meet a deadline is something we’re all familiar with from our academic and professional lives. But shortchanging yourself by doing less than your best when you race for a deadline, knowing there is another equally good deadline two months from now, is something you should think carefully about.