While some colleges have an application deadline for incoming students as May 1 for the fall semester, many students will have already applied. May 1 is often the deadline for those students to make deposits at schools they intend on attending. However, there’s more to consider.

Students who applied earlier will not be asked to accept the college's offer of admission or to submit a deposit prior to May 1, thus the hashtag #decisionday. But a deposit does not mean you’ll enroll. It just holds your spot.

Moreover, even though May 1 is a communicated deadline, schools that have space will continue to accept students who apply after. They consider it a rolling deadline. So if you haven't applied and plan on attending in the fall, don't sweat it. Just get your application in as soon as possible.

May 1 isn’t the only date to pay attention to. Schools might have other deadlines for special programs like honors, or an additional application deadlines for scholarships and financial aid. And in most cases, financial aid is on a first-come basis. The earlier you apply, the better.

If you’re a high school junior, take May 1 as the date to start getting serious about your college plans. Make a spreadsheet of colleges you’re interested in and document the various deadlines associated with admissions, financial aid and programs of interest. That way come next May 1, you'll have already had your #decisionday made.

Need help? Download The Ultimate Scholarship Guide. It’s a free ebook that will help you navigate the maze of financial aid for college.

Save Your Money

Download our quick and fast guide to graduating college with as little debt as possible.

The Ultimate Scholarship Guide

Could you be eligible for more financial aid than you think? Download the step-by-step strategy to apply for grants and scholarship money.