Deadlines of American universities close much earlier than those in the Netherlands. Remember to start your application as soon as possible, and at least one year before your intended departure date. See the timeline for an overview of all necessary steps.

All American universities use their own set of admission requirements. Deadlines, application fees, and admission requirements differ per university, so adjust your timeline according to the shortlist you have created, and note down when you have to submit each document. You can use the timeline below as a general guideline to create yours.


Types of deadlines

Exact deadlines differ among American universities. Make sure you are familiar with your institution’s deadlines. Generally speaking, institutions will observe the following deadlines:


Early Decision

Deadline: usually around November 1st.

Is one of the universities in your shortlist your absolute fave? Consider applying through the early decision plan. This is restrictive and binding: you can only apply early to one institution, and you promise to enroll if accepted. Think carefully about your university choices before you opt to apply through early decision. When applying, you have to sign a form stating you intend to honor the early decision policy.


Early Action

Deadline: usually around November 1st.

This is a non-binding early deadline: you are not obliged to enroll at an early action university upon acceptance. Certain universities operate restrictive early action plans. For example: Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale won’t let you apply to another university through early action.

  • There are some perks to early applications: the school has less applicants at this time, so you will receive their decision in December, even before the regular deadlines.
Regular Decision

Deadline: usually around January 1st.

Regular deadlines are non-binding and non-restrictive. You can apply to as many US universities as you like.


Rolling Admissions

Do you want to apply after January? Some institutions will keep applications open until they have filled all available spots. This can be helpful to students who have not had the time to prepare an application within the usual time frame. Applications could be open until the June right before enrollment, depending on the university. Keep in mind that there won’t be (many) funding opportunities available to you if you apply late.