Applications and Deadlines
Types of application deadlines
Some colleges have rolling admissions, which means that they accept applications on a continuous basis up to a certain deadline. One major advantage of rolling admissions is that your child is notified of the college's decision soon after he or she applies, rather than waiting until March or April, when other colleges send out notifications.
Even though the application deadline is more relaxed, your child should not wait until the last minute. Generally, financial aid and housing are still give out on a first-come, first-served basis. While federal aid (including loans) will be available (if you file the FAFSA), scholarships are limited.
Early Action vs. Early Decision
Many students apply “early action” and “early decision”, but it is very important to understand the difference.
With early action, students apply early (usually around November 15th), are not tied to just one college, and can make their final decision as late as the spring deadline.
Early decision means you apply in the fall and hear the good news by winter break. Colleges tend to accept more early decision applicants because the students who apply under early decision are usually exceptional and certain to attend.
However, there are a few things to consider before applying early decision:
- "Do I really want to go to this college?" If accepted, you are bound to attend, and you cannot change your mind.
- "Do I want to apply to other colleges, too?" While you can only apply for one college on an early decision basis, you should certainly continue to put together standard application packages for other schools.
- "Do I fit the academic profile of the college?" If not, then early decision probably will not help your chances of getting in.
- "Should I apply to OTHER colleges if I am not accepted under early decision?" Applying early decision should not be taken lightly. If you are accepted, most schools require that you attend. If you are not accepted, you may not be able to reapply that academic year. Make sure to check each school's specific policy, and prepare to apply to other schools just in case.