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What to know

With early applications you have three decisions to make: 

✔  Whether to apply early

✔  To which college/s you want to apply early

✔  Are you ready to commit to that one school if you apply Early Decision

Under a number of circumstances, applying “early” can increase your chances of getting accepted at your chosen college.

•  There are four kinds of early applications:

✔  Early Action (EA)
In this non-binding application program, students usually apply on or before the first of November, and receive their admission decision by the middle of December. If accepted, students are not obligated to commit to attending the college until the usual May 1 response deadline.

✔  Restricted Early Action (REA)
REA is a non-binding early admission option for freshman applicants in which a student may not apply to any other type of early action, early decision or early notification program. Candidates are asked to sign a statement (along with their parents and high school counselor) stipulating that they agree to file only one early application. If accepted, students are not obligated to commit to attending the college until the usual May 1 response deadline.

✔  Early Decision (ED)
In this binding contract application program, students apply by the first of November, and receive their admission decision by the middle of December. If accepted, students are obligated to attend the college.

✔  Rolling admission
An application program at some colleges, notably larger public universities, in which applications are accepted, evaluated and decided upon as they are received (from as early as September until a final deadline sometime in the spring).

  Early Action, Restricted Early Action, Early Decision applicants may be accepted, denied or deferred.


What to know

•  Complete early applications as you would complete applications for regular admission.

•  Applying early does not mean that a student should stop filling out other regular applications. Since early decision notifications don’t come until December 15, students need to have other applications ready to send should they not be accepted.

•  Research suggests that applying early provides a significant admissions advantage.

•  Colleges are now filling greater and greater proportions of their freshman classes with early applicants, as much as 30 to 40 to 50%.

•  Applying early will not help you if you are not a competitive applicant.

•  Recruited athletes, under-represented minorities, high potential disadvantaged students, and legacies have a substantial edge at colleges whether or not they apply early or regular admissions.


What to know

Freshman and sophomore Years
9th and 10th grades are wonderful years to research and visit colleges to understand what you like and don’t like about them. This might even lead to your wanting to apply early to a school.

junior Year
Fall Semester
Start researching colleges online and in guidebooks

Spring Semester
If you think you want to apply early,

✔  Complete all of your testing–SATand/or ACTand Subject Tests–by June of your junior year.

✔  Before the end of school, ask two teachers if they will complete your Teacher Evaluation forms for fall college applications

✔  Get really good grades. Remember, only grades through your junior year will be seen by colleges to which you apply early

senior Year
Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) deadlines are usually the first or fifteenth of November. All application materials must be mailed by that due date. In addition, some colleges offer a second round of early acceptance programs. EAII and EDII deadlines usually occur in early December, with admission notices going out a few weeks later.


When to do it

There are many things to consider if your child is thinking of an Early application program, one of the most important of which is financial aid. You can be very helpful in the decision-making process by having your son or daughter think through the pros and cons of applying early, while you pull together family financial information.

by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
Excerpted from adMISSION POSSIBLE® (Sourcebooks, Inc, April 2012)

If you want to know more about this and other admissions topics, read
Getting into the Best Colleges for you
. Order it here!



adMISSION POSSIBLE® is committed to every student having access to the best college admissions advice available free
of charge, regardless of family background, financial resources, geographic location or attendance at a public or private school.

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