As the summer winds down and a busy new school year begins, you might be inclined to push off college applications until they’re actually due. After all, application deadlines serve a purpose, right?

But hang on!

There are lots of good reasons — and benefits — to apply earlier than you need to.

And we’re not talking about Early Action and Early Decision (though those are fantastic options too); we mean, that if you already know of at least one school you’ll eventually apply to, get it done stat. Here’s why.

  1. Hear back early, have peace of mind.

    Some colleges—including Siena College—get to work on an application as soon as it’s received so they can let the applicant know a decision before the actual deadline. At Siena, for instance, once you complete an application, you can expect to hear back from us within 7-10 business days. If that means an acceptance before the holidays, before senior year craziness kicks in, before Mom’s birthday… imagine the peace of mind and celebration that could bring?
  2. Find out about your financial aid sooner.

    Again, this depends on each college’s admissions policy—and it only applies if you take advantage of the October 1 FAFSA date. (In other words, as soon as October 1 hits, fill out that FAFSA form!) Because if you do, and if the college is able to get you the info sooner, you could have both your acceptance and your financial aid packages early. For instance, if you fill out the FAFSA on October 1, you’ll get your full financial aid award from Siena around Thanksgiving.
  3. Senior year is a lot of work.

    If there’s one thing you can get done before the homework, the club and sports commitments and other obligations get into full swing, it’s this. Set yourself up for senior year success by submitting a few applications earlier on, to free up your time when the going gets busy.
  4. Your school counselor will be grateful.

    They’ve got a lot to do for seniors. If you’re first in line to have your school counselor send out all your materials, you’ll know it’s getting done in a timely manner and you can relax (a little!) as the decisions roll in.
  5. Admissions committees are wide awake.

    We’d be remiss to not say that Siena College’s admissions team is always excited to read applicants’ files and never get tired. We’re Saints, after all. But at other colleges, we’re just saying—lots of applications bounce through those doors, and it can’t hurt to be among the first while admissions counselors are feeling fresh and focused.

Plus? Once your application is in, you can plan multiple visits with different purposes. Eat lunch in the dining hall. Do an overnight. Sit in on a class. With the hard part over with, you can focus on exploring your choices on a deeper level.

So what do you say?