Admission Processes and Timelines

Brown University Gates


“Sigh … there goes another summer, Snoopy!” said Charlie Brown. While I share Charlie Brown’s sense of regret, I’m buoyed by Henry David Thoreau’s sentiment that “[o]ne must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”

It’s tempting to stretch out the holidays just a bit longer, don’t delay too much. In fact, start planning your transition back to an academic schedule.


Two steps. That’s a defining characteristic of the Canadian university application process. Still, applications to some universities may require a single step.

The first step requires students to submit bio-demographic information (e.g. name, address, school attended, etc.) and to identify preferred universities and/or programs. Then, once universities are notified of the student’s interest, these may invite applicants to provide supplemental information (e.g. personal statements, interviews, etc.). This second step is commonly required by highly selective business and engineering programs, but is increasingly being requested for general admission purposes. As part of our interaction, we make students aware of supplemental requirements. Universities also notify applicants.

As shown in the diagram below, application deadlines for most Canadian universities are in January. To enter the application queue early, and to have ample time to ensure requirements are met, we encourage our students to complete the first step of the application by mid-November at latest. Personal statements and interviews are generally not required until early next year.


American universities may have multiple deadlines from which to choose. Students must choose the right application timeline for each university. Needless to say, we will offer advice. It must be noted that all application material, including essays and test results, must be submitted at the time of application.

Early decision deadlines are usually in November. Students choosing to apply Early Decision (ED) receive a response from universities sooner than those students who turn in applications later. ED decisions are generally released in December. Some universities have a second early decision deadline. Decisions for ED II deadlines are usually in January. ED decisions are binding. Students choosing this timeline must be certain it’s the right choice.

Early Action (EA) is another type of application plan. The deadlines for these application tend to be in either November or December. Similar to ED applicants, students choosing to apply EA receive an admission decision sooner. The difference is that EA acceptances are not binding.

Students may also choose to apply Regular Decision (RD). The deadlines for this application plan may be as early as January 1. Admission decisions for students applying under this plan are generally announced from mid-March to early April.


Applications to British universities are generally made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The deadline to apply depends on which universities and/or programs are on your list, the earliest being October 1, though most courses/programs have a January deadline. In general, there are four key steps for completing the UCAS application:

  1. Register your bio-demographic and educational details
  2. Identify preferred programs/courses and note the unique UCAS code
  3. Choose preferred universities and make note of their unique UCAS codes
  4. Complete the application form and submit. One application form is used to apply for up to five different choices. It’s up to you whether you apply to five different programs/courses or five different courses at the same university.

The personal statement is a central part of the UCAS application and it’s forwarded to each university to which you apply. Rather than telling about personal qualities and/or values, use the statement to show your enthusiasm for your preferred area of study.

Contact Vervesmith to schedule your next appointment. Be sure to suggest preferred times and dates.