When are high schoolers supposed to start applying to colleges?

Hello. I just finished off my Junior year in high school and I m wondering when would be a good time to apply to colleges. Would it make sense to apply in the summer before my senior year starts, or should I wait until early my senior year? Right now I have a few schools I m interested in. A couple of them have the... show more Hello. I just finished off my Junior year in high school and I m wondering when would be a good time to apply to colleges. Would it make sense to apply in the summer before my senior year starts, or should I wait until early my senior year? Right now I have a few schools I m interested in. A couple of them have the application deadline on January 1, another has the deadline on Februrary 1 and another on January 15. These are all regular deadlines.

Also on average how long does it take to be notified that one has been accepted? Does it depend on the school?
Update: I'm aware that I may need letters of recommendations from teachers or other authority. I have taken the SAT once my Junior year, but I was looking to improve my score.
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