Many colleges offer students the opportunity to apply early and receive a decision early, usually before Christmas break. Please consult with your college counselor to discuss the appropriateness of this kind of option. The college counseling office requires that students submit Early Action/Early Decision applications two weeks before the dates listed on the Application Worksheet - Yellow Form. All applications, no matter the admission plan, must be submitted by November 1st.
Below are descriptions of the different application plans that students may choose.
Early Decision (ED, ED I, ED II)
These programs allow a strong student to apply to a college early in the senior year and receive an admissions decision in advance of regular notification dates. The dates of Early Decision plans vary. Notification will usually occur in mid-December or early January. This plan is a “binding” plan and requires the applicant to agree to attend the college if accepted. A student may only apply to one college under the Early Decision Plan. One may, however, concurrently apply to other colleges as a regular admissions applicant, but must withdraw those applications if accepted by the Early Decision College. A student should only apply under an Early Decision plan if the student is 100% sure that he wants to attend that college. It is important to realize that a college may accept the student, defer him to the regular admissions pool or deny his application if they feel that it is not a good match. For this reason, it may be advisable to avoid Early Decision plans if the student wants the colleges to see his first semester senior grades or later fall testing results. Early Decision should also be avoided if a student wants to compare financial aid and scholarship packages from several colleges.
Early Action (EA, Interim decision)
These plans are non-binding plans that allow a strong applicant to apply to a college early in his senior year and receive an admissions decision in advance of regular notification dates. This plan is for a student who is very confident that he would attend this school if admitted, but is not willing to “bind” himself to this decision. Under this plan, a student may apply to several colleges and compare offers of admissions and financial aid packages. It is college dependent as to whether or not a student may apply to several EA plans at once. The student is responsible for checking EA policies with each school to which he applies. Students deferred will be reconsidered with the regular applicant pool.
Under this plan, a student applies to college and is usually notified of a decision within 6-8 weeks after the completed application has been filed. This is a non-binding program. Most state schools follow a rolling admissions plan, but it is becoming increasingly popular at private institutions. Because rolling admission plans get more competitive as the class space fills up, students are encouraged to apply to rolling admission plans as soon as they know that they are interested in attending the institution.
These programs have a set deadline and a set response date. These dates vary from college to college, but application deadline dates are usually in January and February with a response date in early April. Regular admissions allows a student to apply to several colleges and share interim and first semester grades, as well as a complete profile of fall testing. This admissions plan is most advisable if a student wants to present a complete picture and take his time deciding which college is the best match for his particular interests and abilities.