Whether you are applying to Oxford, Cambridge, Vet/Dentist/Med School or you are looking at applying Early Decision to the USA you need to start writing your application essays and filling in the pages of the application forms NOW!

Oxford, Cambridge, Medical School and most Veterinary and Dentistry applications in the UK are due on or before October 15th. Check out the information on UCAS for all deadlines.

Early Decision and Early Action deadlines vary in the USA.  Some are as early as October, some are November 1st, some November 30th and some are in December.  Carefully check on the websites of the universities and colleges that you are interested in or check on Collegeboard.com Big Future  pages.  The University of California system has a separate system for which the deadline is from November 1st to the 30th.

If you are applying Early Decision or Early Action to the USA check out these stats from 2015 as provided by the Independent Education Consultants Association.   Each college and university provides details on % entry of Early Decision versus Regular Decision in their First year intake. This may help you when making your decision to apply early or not.

Once you have checked all your choices make a spreadsheet of all the deadlines.  These deadlines are very important – do not miss them!

Make an appointment to meet with your School Counsellor/College Counsellor/Guidance Officer/Careers Advisor/Tutor to check over the application requirements.  References are generally required for most applications and either your Counsellor or a teacher/s will be required to write one for you.  Some schools require a minimum of two weeks notice for a reference request – so make that appointment now!

Be prepared to spend at least 10 hours per application – some of the USA applications require multiple short essays.  This means your weekends are now fully booked with application preparation as well as with your schoolwork! Doesn’t sound pleasant does it?  But if you plan your time carefully your applications will be tip-top and ready to go well before the deadline.  This will give you plenty of time to relax and enjoy quality free time later this semester!

So, carefully research your options, select your universities and colleges, check all deadlines, meet with your advisor/counsellor and set yourself some targets.  Always ask for help along the way from family, friends and school staff.  And there are plenty of useful information videos and podcasts on university and college websites as well as on Collegeboard, Commonapp and UCAS.

Good Luck!