With many of our families relying on merit-aid to make college affordable, I have one mantra:
"Merit deadlines are as important as admission deadlines!"
college merit process has become increasing complex, with each college creating its own rules on when it expect students to apply for admission to be considered for merit aid. Numerous colleges are abandoning full consideration for merit for students that submit their application by the "standard" Regular Decision deadline. Instead, the are creating "preferred" admissions deadlines for students that want to be considered for the most – or sometimes any – merit aid.
One visual that I have created that helps drive this point home shows students the various timelines of colleges that may be on a target list. I've seen this visual aid to be effective to show the timeline complexity and importance of planning for "preferred" admissions deadlines. You can click to download the PPT slide and adapt this for your own presentations.