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About Those College Application Deadlines

By now, high school seniors should be working on those college applications and paying attention to application deadlines. Many people ask me about the various college deadline options and what would be best for their student. Of course there is no blanket one size fits all rule. All students have individual needs and all colleges offer different options. Here are a few things you should know and consider: The Early Decision option is only for those students who absolutely know a college is their first choice. It is binding. A student who chooses this option, should they be admitted, is obligated and is agreeing to enroll in that college and must withdraw all other college applications. Students should only send one college application Early Decision. All other applications should be either Early Action or Regular Decision. A recruited college athlete, signing for scholarship would be an example of someone who might choose Early Decision. Some students who know they are a strong candidate for their absolute dream school might choose early decision to increase their probability of acceptance, however they should understand the data. The percentage of acceptances from an early decision application pool can vary from school to school. The Early Action option is great if a student is confident that their grades and test scores, as they stand at the start of senior year, best represent their academic history and most likely will remain consistent for the rest of the year. You can send more than one Early Action application. If a student believes grades or activities from senior year will give their application the boost it needs or they are certain their SAT or ACT scores will negatively impact their applications, then Regular Decision is probably the best way to go. Early Action is not a binding agreement and typically a student does not have to accept an offer until the institution's regular acceptance deadline, which for most schools is May 1st. The Regular Decision option includes grades from the first half of senior year, so there is more time to submit stronger academic credentials. This also allows more time to better SAT or ACT scores, get applications filled out, essays written, and get in last minute college visits. Some schools offer Rolling Admission. If a college offers rolling admission, the college usually has a larger application window and the applications are processed and decisions made as they come in. This means a student will hear back sooner than the other decision options but it also could mean that available spots can fill up quickly. Colleges that offer a Priority Deadline are giving students an opportunity to increase their chance for admittance and scholarship. You should know that every school does not offer every option. Go to the schools website and make sure you are clear on what types of deadlines are offered and when those deadlines are. This will help you make your decisions on when to submit those applications. Remember to check those decision and deposit deadlines at each school as well! Happy applying!

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