EduReviewerBlogWhat is a Priority Deadline?
Admission Consulting

What is a Priority Deadline?

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Deadline is a self-explanatory term meaning a final day or hour to submit an application, form, or document. For students, a priority deadline means a “soft” deadline after which they can still submit their application, but those sent before that date will have a priority treatment by the admissions team. Schools with rolling admissions will almost always provide priority deadlines in our educational systems.

Basically, within a much wider applications window, students will have a chance to apply earlier and receive answers quickly. This article will show you more details. You’ll learn about the priority status meaning, accepting schools, the difference between other deadlines, and how to pass through this challenging process efficiently.

Knowing the ins and outs of priority applications is indeed crucial. But what about understanding what private schools look for in applicants? That’s another critical aspect of the admissions process that should not be overlooked. Check out this comprehensive guide to get a leg up on the competition.

What Is a Priority Application for College

Sometimes referred to as a VIP application, a priority application is a chance for students to apply to a college using a non-standard application. Basically, a legitimate college allows some students to apply earlier than others and get their applications considered by the people in charge. This way, you will know if the status is granted and do you meet all the entrance requirements for the desired institution.

While understanding the priority application process is critical, it’s equally essential to know how to recruit college students effectively. To stay ahead of the curve and create a more diversified talent pool, take a look at these innovative methods. They are tried, tested, and could make a significant impact on your talent acquisition initiatives.

Many colleges and universities across the USA come with different conditions and other policies applied to this aspect. Before filing any document, we suggest you carefully study the specific school’s criteria and necessary documents and proofs.

Students are sometimes unsure about the priority application deadline meaning and its implications. Your applications sent and received before that projected deadline will receive priority by a special admissions team. On the other hand, a dedicated school team will review any application received within the “normal” deadline, but only after those submitted by early birds.

So, after showing what is a priority application for college, one could ask why it’s needed in the first place? McKinney and Novak argued about this aspect of an application in their book “FAFSA Filing Among First-Year College Students: Who Files on Time, Who Doesn’t, and Why Does it Matter?” We already said that all timely-sent applications would be reviewed, and one could ask why to bother. By applying this way, students receive the highest-priority status. This is important when two applications have the same priority, so the admissions team will prioritize the one that came first.

Statistically, different colleges have different early decision acceptance rates. For example, Stanford University has a record-low early rate setting of 4.7%, which implies even a lower regular admission rate. Other schools showed quite a different percentage. At Swarthmore College, 35% of early applicants were admitted, while the standard decision admittance rate was 10%. At the same time, Texas Christian University accepted 28.5% early birds and 44% regulars.

Still, this doesn’t mean an early submitted document will increase a student’s odds of enrolling in the college in question. Instead, students will find out sooner whether they are accepted or not. For someone planning the future, this is more than a piece of valuable information, just like the fact that this is a non-binding decision. If admitted, you don’t have any obligation to attend that particular college.

Schools That Accept Priority Applications

Schools That Accept Priority Applications

Long story short, you can see what is a priority application compared to regular application dates. This should make things easier to follow and help you better understand the procedure. By checking the list of selected schools, you can plan your activities in front.

School Priority Deadline  Regular Deadline
Arizona State November 1 January 15
Brigham Young November 1 December 15
Drexel November 1 January 15
Eastern Washington University February 1 Rolling
University of Arkansas  November 1 August 1
Purdue  November 1 January 15
Loyola University Chicago December 1 Rolling
New York University September 15 October 15
Texas Tech December 1 May 2

As a general rule, larger public schools have priority deadlines. On the other hand, those with rolling admissions keep accepting submissions until all spots run out and complete a new first-year class. Students who need a hand can read college consultants’ reviews and see the most suitable person to help them prioritize applications. You can always read more details in our article dealing with this vital aspect of your education.

Is a Priority Deadline Different Than Other Deadlines?

Now when you know what is priority deadline, we need to clarify its relation to other deadlines. It’s essential to understand the difference between rolling admission vs regular decision, and you can read more in our article. Therefore, let’s check some basic definitions:

First, we have a regular deadline as a non-binding final date for submitting college applications. Often set in January or February, this is the deadline after which you won’t stand a chance of being accepted if failed to apply.

Also, rolling admissions are pretty close to regular deadlines. Colleges accept new students allowing them to apply for as long as there are still available spots. This way, you have more time to apply and set your priority deadlines. Rolling admissions also help students get their classes for the first school year.

Then, you’ll see an early decision as a binding deadline. Students who applied earlier (by November 1 in most cases) and receive an acceptable answer by mid-December must attend the school they applied for. You’ll have a slightly better chance of being accepted in schools that promote early decision procedures.

Finally, schools may set non-binding early actions. Again, applications received by November 1 will receive decisions by mid-December. Students who are accepted have enough time (May 1 as a regular decision date) to decide whether to attend that school or continue education somewhere else.

After analyzing the definitions, it’s clear that early-action deadlines and priority deadlines have much in common. Students need to apply before the deadline. After that, attending that school is all up to you. While Penn State has different deadlines for that, many other schools use them interchangeably.

But, a thing or two differentiates priority deadlines and early decisions. We talk about early decision’s binding nature, meaning that you must attend the school that accepted your application.

Besides general admission, colleges can post a deadline for other on and off-campus activities. This means students sometimes must consider timely applications for financial aid, on-campus housing, majors, honors college, and more.

Thanks to subtle differences between different forms of deadlines, students often need assistance. The question is should you hire a college consultant to make it easier and understandable. Therefore, it would be a smart move to read our article that explains the hiring and consulting process in detail.

Process of Priority Application

Students granted a chance to apply earlier should always take this opportunity and consider it recommended. This is an excellent way to mark your spot in a specific college and eventually receive financial aid if needed.

Now, presuming you applied within the deadline, the college’s special admissions team will consider it as soon as possible. The table above shows some specific reaction dates so that you can plan accordingly.

We know that students sometimes face a moral dilemma when applying by a priority deadline, but there is nothing wrong, or we can see a downside here. Just make sure not to neglect other activities and schoolwork to meet this projected date.

Remember that freshman slots are filling up fast, so make sure to apply quickly. One thing is connected to another so that the school won’t review your dorming or aid application. Furthermore, it would be possible to get accepted but not receive economic aid. We suggest you prioritize deadlines since the school won’t review even the most substantial application after filling all the available slots.

What Does Priority Admission Mean?

The closest definition for priority application meaning would be the deadline you have to meet and submit the application before time runs out to receive a college or school’s guarantee that they will promptly review your documents. Students won’t be rejected after applying after a priority deadline; still, other students who respect the date will have a priority. After reviewing their applications, the school will pay more attention to your papers.

So, we recommend that eligible students take advantage of priority applications whenever possible. This will maximize your chances of getting admitted into a targeted college and receiving the best possible education according to your needs and priorities.


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