When Do College Applications Open for Class of 2024?

Find out when you should apply for college starting in fall 2024 in the US.

When Do College Applications Open for Class of 2024?
Rubin Abdi

For high school students with their sights set on higher education, one of the most anticipated milestones is the opening of the college application season. With each academic year comes a new wave of prospective college students eager to secure their spots at institutions across the country and around the world. The class of 2024 is no different. As these students inch closer to their senior year, the pressing question on their minds, and likely the minds of their parents and guardians, is: When do college applications open?

Understanding the intricacies of the college application timeline can be pivotal for a student's journey. Different institutions and application systems might have varied schedules, but there are general timelines that most colleges follow. With the stakes so high, it's crucial for both students and their families to be well-informed and prepared to navigate the complex world of college admissions. In this BrokeScholar article, we explore the specifics of when college applications typically open for the class of 2024, ensuring that no deadlines are missed, and opportunities are seized.

Table of Contents

When Do College Applications Open for Class of 2024?

Most college applications for the 2023-2024 application cycle opened on August 1, 2023. This includes the Common App and Coalition Application. The most common deadlines for college admission are November and February. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of some key deadlines for various types of college admissions:

Early Decision (ED) College Application Deadlines

While the specific deadlines for early decision (ED) college admissions can vary slightly from one institution to another and may change over time, historically, many colleges and universities in the United States have set their ED deadlines in the fall. The most common deadlines for early decision admissions are:

  • November 1, 2023: This is a very common deadline for many schools offering early decision. Schools with this deadline often release their admission decisions in mid-December.
  • November 15, 2023: Some schools opt for a mid-November deadline for their early decision applications.
  • December 1, 2023: A smaller number of schools might have this as their deadline, especially if they offer multiple rounds of early decision.

There are some institutions that might have unique ED deadlines, or even offer ED II (a second round of early decision) with deadlines usually in early January. It's always crucial for students to research the specific deadlines for each institution they are considering since these can change or vary based on the institution's policies or particular circumstances in any given year.

Additionally, it's worth noting that early action (EA), which is a different type of early application process, also typically has deadlines around the same dates in the fall.

Regular Decision (RD) College Application Deadlines

Regular decision (RD) deadlines for college applications in the US tend to be later in the academic year than early decision or early action deadlines. The most common deadlines for regular decision admissions include:

  • January 1, 2024: Many colleges and universities have this as their regular decision deadline. Students applying by this date typically hear back in March or April.
  • January 15, 2024: This is another common deadline for regular decision applications. Like the January 1 deadline, students typically receive decisions in March or April.
  • February 1, 2024: Some schools opt for a slightly later deadline in February. Responses are typically sent in March or April, although it might be later for some institutions.
  • March 1 and March 15, 2024: A few institutions might have deadlines in March, especially if they have rolling admissions, where they review applications as they come in until all spots are filled.
  • Rolling Admissions: Some schools don't have a strict regular decision deadline and instead offer rolling admissions. This means they continue to review and accept applications until all spots in the incoming class are filled. While there isn't a strict "deadline," earlier applications often have a better chance of acceptance simply because there are more spots available.

For students, it is critical to be aware that specific deadlines can vary significantly from one institution to another. Some colleges might have unique dates that don't fall into the common ones listed above. As with early decision or early action deadlines, always check each school's official admissions page or contact their admissions office to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

When Should I Start Apply for College 2024?

If you want to apply for fall 2024, you should start applying to schools from summer 2023 to early fall 2023. You can even begin some college applications during your junior year. 

As already mentioned, some colleges have rolling admissions, which are open until a class is complete. Rolling admissions allow you to apply both before and after the regular decision time frame. Colleges with rolling admissions usually communicate their decisions quickly.

Is Common App Open for 2024?

Yes, the Common App is indeed open for applying to and attending college in fall 2024. The 2023–2024 Common Application launched on August 1, 2023.

How Many Common App Essays Are Required 2024?

The Common App requires one general college application essay that is then sent to any colleges using the app. Students choose from seven different prompts to write this one essay.

What Are the 2024 College Essay Prompts?

On the Common App 2024, there are 7 essay prompts to choose from, with the maximum number of words being 650. What the college essay prompts consist of are listed below:

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Do You Need SAT for College 2024?

In recent years, a notable shift has been observed in the landscape of college admissions, with an increasing number of institutions choosing to adopt test-optional or test-blind policies. More than 1,900 U.S. colleges and universities are not requiring SAT or ACT scores for admissions for fall 2024, continuing the proliferation of test-optional and test-free practices. This trend means that many colleges no longer require applicants to submit SAT scores as a component of their applications. Several reasons underpin this change. 

Firstly, there's a growing acknowledgment that standardized test scores may not be the most accurate reflection of a student's potential or academic capability. Moreover, concerns about the socioeconomic biases associated with standardized testing have been raised, pointing out that these tests often favor students from more affluent backgrounds who have access to resources like test preparation courses. By moving away from SAT requirements, colleges aim to level the playing field and broaden their approach to evaluating the holistic strengths and qualities of prospective students. This paradigm shift is not only a testament to evolving perspectives on education but also a step toward promoting greater inclusivity and diversity in higher education admissions.

The Bottom Line on When College Applications Open for Class of 2024

As students gear up for the college application season for the Class of 2024, they must be proactive not only in ensuring their applications are timely but also in planning for the financial realities of their higher education journey. While pinpointing the application opening dates is a significant first step, it's equally crucial to consider the many financial resources available. Scholarships, often perceived as a realm for the academically elite or the athletically gifted, are actually abundant and diverse, catering to a wide range of talents, backgrounds, and needs. Securing scholarships can dramatically reduce the overall cost of college and, in many cases, ease the post-graduate debt load.

In addition to scholarships, prospective college students should not underestimate the value of student discounts. These discounts, available in areas ranging from software to transportation and even dining, can make a palpable difference in a student’s monthly budget. By combining timely college application submissions with a proactive approach to scholarships and capitalizing on student discounts, the Class of 2024 can embark on their college journey not only with enthusiasm but also with a well-laid plan to manage and lessen the financial burden that often accompanies higher education.

Andrew DePietro

Author: Andrew DePietro

Senior Researcher, and Content Strategist

Andrew DePietro is a finance writer covering topics such as entrepreneurship, investing, real estate and college for BrokeScholar, Forbes, CreditKarma, and more.