Waiting until the last minute to submit an application is never a good idea. Make sure the admissions folder is completed well before the admissions deadline. Admissions staff are intrinsically well-organized and detailed-oriented. They will appreciate the care and concern which you have shown to complete the file as soon as you can. After all, they can only begin their review process once the file is complete. If a school does not have a fixed admissions deadline but instead uses rolling admissions, the same rules of the road apply. Submit your application and all the supporting materials as soon as possible.
Don't hand the teacher recommendation forms to the teachers the week before they are due. That's discourteous, to say the least. Don't forget to put a stamp on all the return envelopes. Teachers will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Recommendation forms take time and care to complete. Give your teachers as much time as you possibly can to accomplish this task.
While you can schedule testing at the last minute and in some cases even do walk-ins, last minute test registration is not recommended unless you have no other alternatives.
Waiting to the last minute to do anything is never a good idea. The financial aid decisions are made separately from admissions. Because there is a limited pool of funds for financial aid, you need to adhere to all the deadlines scrupulously or risk having your financial aid request turned down.
By the time schools go back in during the month of September you only have a scant two months until Thanksgiving. Time becomes a precious commodity in admissions offices towards the end of the calendar year. Be smart and prepared to get your school visits over as soon as you can., preferably over the summer. You won't feel as rushed. The admissions staff might have a bit more time for you. It's a much more pleasant experience.
You may have your sights set on Exeter. But the fact of the matter is that admissions at Exeter are extremely competitive. That fine old boarding school receives many more applicants than it can take. That is why it is so important to develop a list of schools spanning three categories:
1) the schools which are a reach because they are very selective;
2) the schools which you are confident will accept you;
3) the safe schools which you know will offer you a place.
4)Quite candidly, safe schools often are the hidden treasures in the private school world.
5)They have everything you could want in a boarding school.
6)All they lack is that the name recognition which the top ten boarding schools have.
7)If you are an international student, plan the visa application process carefully. Applying to an American boarding school takes plenty of lead time for international students. There are dozens of details which are not a part of the standard boarding school application process. That's because the U.S. Government will require you to have a student visa for entry into the United States. You can't apply for a student visa until you apply to a boarding school. Then the school will give you a Form I-20 which allows you to apply for a visa.