Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Applying for college? Don't wait

The University of South Florida talks with prospective applicants and their families at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. Sheila Nenna, left, and her daughter, Ashley, who hopes to go there, tour USF’s campus in Tampa.


The University of South Florida talks with prospective applicants and their families at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. Sheila Nenna, left, and her daughter, Ashley, who hopes to go there, tour USF’s campus in Tampa.

There's a saying in college admissions. "If you smell the turkey in the oven, your college applications ought to be in before you sit down at the table," says Robert Spatig, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of South Florida. So it's getting late. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Application deadlines

• USF ( — USF has rolling admissions, meaning it reviews applications as they come in and makes decisions throughout the admission cycle. Priority deadline for those seeking merit scholarships is Jan. 2. After March 1, it will consider applications on a space-available basis. So sooner is better.

• University of Florida ( — The preferred application deadline has passed. Applications submitted by March 1 will be considered on a space-available basis.

• Florida State University ( — Jan. 20, with decision sent by March 17.

• University of Central Florida ( — UCF has rolling admissions and recommends applying by December of your senior year. Deadlines are March 1 for summer, May 1 for fall.

• University of Tampa ( — Early action: Nov. 15 (notifications out by Dec. 15) or Jan. 15 (notifications out by Feb. 15). For applications completed after Jan. 15, notifications go out by April 1.

• Eckerd College ( — Eckerd has rolling admissions, with the bulk of applications coming by Feb. 15. Once an application is complete, a decision is made within four weeks.


Apply early. This can give you time to submit new, better test scores.

Submit your application and keep in touch with the college yourself. Letting a parent do too much raises questions.

Proofread carefully. Admissions officers "get a little turned off when the essay says, 'I think I'll do really well at the University of Delaware,' " says UT vice president of enrollment management Dennis Nostrand.

Go to as soon as possible after Jan. 1 and complete the free application for federal student aid. (You can use your family's tax return from last year to get the FAFSA in and update it later.) Do this even if you don't expect to qualify for aid, just in case a parent loses a job. And learn your schools' deadlines for the financial aid they offer. (At USF, for example, it's March 1.) Apply early for that, too.


Forget to have test scores sent where you apply. Talk to your guidance counselor to make sure your transcripts are sent, too.

Pay to apply for a scholarship or to search for scholarships. "There are lots of scams out there," Spatig says. (The College Scholarship Service financial aid profile, which is legitimate and used by private schools, does charge a processing fee.)

Fail to include enough information in your application. If you had a weak year, explain why. "It's always important for us to understand the whole experience a student had," says Maria Furtado, Eckerd's director of admission.

Slack off after you get in. If you do, many universities will rescind their offers of admission. "The student who tanks in their senior year is most at risk of failing out in their freshman year," Spatig said.

Online resources — Comprehensive information on the SAT, as well as finding, applying and paying for college. — Good scholarship search site. — Lots of articles and other resources, plus students dish here. Chatty, but consider the source. — Click on the "Student Resources" tab for month-by-month to-do lists.

Applying for college? Don't wait 11/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2009 12:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.