Updated: Dec 24, 2018
If you are set on a school and have had time to prepare over the summer, you should definitely look to apply in Round 1. Round 1 can also be a good time to apply to schools that are further down your school wish list, since you can re-tool your Round 2 strategy based on the outcome of Round 1 applications. Each applicant's strategy is different but regardless, Round 1 can be a very valuable round for all applicants.
Here are some tips to be successful:
1) Be realistic. Keep in mind that you cannot apply to the same school in more than one round within a given application cycle; hence, only apply to a school if you feel like you can put your best foot forward in that round vs. a latter round.
2) Be yourself. This applies to applications in all rounds but is especially important to remember in Round 1. Since Round 1 falls early in the year, you may have just started a new job or social service engagement, taken on a new responsibility at work, etc. Be honest about yourself, your work, and your commitments; remember that most schools will let you send supplemental information and updates later in the cycle, during the period when they are considering you, should there be new developments to add.
3) Be open-minded. If Round 1 applications do not go your way, do not be too disappointed; remember that each school looks for different students. Your lack of success at one school in Round 1 does not determine your success at another school in Round 2.
Good luck, from your friends at PeakAdmit!