Whether applying early to private school provides an advantage to the applicant depends on whether the school operates a traditional application process with a fixed deadline, rolling admissions where schools review applications and admit students on a rolling basis, or offers an early decision option.
Traditional Application Deadlines
In general, applying early to private schools with a traditional application deadline doesn’t provide an admission-decision advantage because admission teams typically wait to conduct reviews and make enrollment decisions until after the deadline.
Reviewing candidates post-deadline is for practical reasons, as admission teams are busy conducting open houses, tours, and interviews, attending school fairs, and responding to inquiries from prospective families.
When applying to schools with traditional deadlines, the critical aspect is being aware of the deadline date, which varies by school and region. An application submitted early for one school could be late for another.
All of this said, there is an advantage to submitting an inquiry form as early as possible. Engaging with the school early in the process provides more time for the admissions team to get to know the family and ensures you have plenty of time to complete the application requirements. Of course, applying early also provides peace of mind and can help reduce stress during the busy holiday season.
Rolling admissions is a first-come, first-served process, so there is an advantage to applying early in the admission season before the school fills all openings with qualified candidates and financial aid is allocated.
Learn more about rolling admissions:
While early admissions applications are common in higher education, this practice is rare with private school admissions. However, some private schools are starting to adopt a version of it, so you may encounter early admission as an option.
Early admission is a declaration that a school is your family’s first choice, which can be an advantage, but it isn’t a guarantee of admission. Depending on the school’s decision timeline, you may still have to prepare and submit regular-decision applications to other schools.