PARIS: Okay. So, how early should a student get an application in?
MR. ROMAINE: By the due date. Earlier makes no difference. It’s a complete myth that there’s a benefit to be derived from early admission.
This is arguable. You would think the obvious benefit to applying early is a smaller pool of applicants. If applying to Harvard, you cannot apply early to another university, meaning that the restriction of doing so may discourage a lot of people. People who apply early are more likely to gain admittance to the university of their choice – but according to Harvard, that’s because quality candidates are more likely to apply early. Harvard insists there is nothing to be gained from applying early, even though the standard advice is to apply early if you can. The only real drawback is that you have less time to polish your application.
The early application date for Harvard is November 1st, and notifications of their decision are sent out in mid-December. An early decision seems like a good way to avoid application anxiety!