After you e-submit your app, PTCAS does grade calculations which they say can take 4-6 weeks. Mine was done in like a week. I e-submitted on 8/24 (after I new my PTCAS GPA) and my app was mailed to Northwestern and UIC on 9/2. The only thing that might hold things up is knowing that 10/1 is a popular deadline for some programs and that can slow processing times. If you really want to make sure you get reviewed by NU and UIC, I'd finish that essay tomorrow and e-submit. However, if you don't have a decent essay it's really your call whether you want to take the risk. Honestly, I think you have solid stats to the point where your essay might not matter a whole lot and you'll get several offers. FIY, you can designate other programs later after you e-submit. Additionally, out of the 6 programs I applied to, 3 were rolling admission and only one got back to me with a rejection, one said notification by October, and Midwestern DG didn't say anything. I also applied to 3 non-rolling (NU, UIC, and UKentucky), both NU and UIC said mid/late December and Kentucky said they'd send interview invites by February. Hope that helps.
My mistake, I designated more schools after I knew my PTCAS GPA, the calculations occur after you e-submit. I'm a student at Northwestern, but not a SPT there yet (fingers crossed). They said they'd give a decision by December and the wait is killing me. FYI, if you submit your app to a program that has a firm deadline and they receive everything before the deadline, you'll be reviewed (how many spots left doesn't matter). Most programs with firm deadlines start reviewing apps past the deadline (though I bet some start earlier). Maybe programs with rolling admissions might not review more apps once the class is filled, but programs typically give offers to double the amount of seats they have so they still might review a lot of apps. Just think if they find 100-150 competitive applicants after reviewing 200 apps, I doubt they'll review another 300 or more (rolling admissions). Where do you go for your undergrad?
Submit this week and most likely you'll get reviewed. Tough to know exactly without contacting them directly.
PTCAS, Northwestern says
"We will begin reviewing applications once they are verified and received from PTCAS.
Early decision applicants will be notified by the PTCAS deadline, notification for regular decision applicants will begin on 10/1/14.
We anticipate making all admission decisions by mid December, 2014. All applicants who are offered admission or a place on the alternate list will be invited to an open house on January 9-10, 2015. Applicants should notify Northwestern (and PTCAS) of any contact information changes after submission of the application."
PTCAS UIC says
"The application must be e-submitted by the application deadline of October 1, and must then be at "complete" status in PTCAS by November 14, in order to be eligible for consideration. It is the applicant's responsibility to insure completion according to PTCAS instructions.
The UIC Supplemental application must be completed on-line by an October 1 deadline. Applicants not meeting these deadlines will not be considered."