Navigating the Web of College Admission Deadlines

January 14, 2019
Posted in Student Tips
January 14, 2019 ACS

As you’re applying to your top-choice schools, you might soon discover that things aren’t as straightforward as you had hoped. In order to qualify for different admissions levels, you might be subject to more than one deadline. Check out this quick guide to learn the different terms you’ll probably encounter in the coming months.

Early Action. You must submit your application early in your senior year (usually), but you’ll have a bit of time to decide whether to accept an invitation to attend. This status might earn you a bit of priority, but isn’t as pressure-filled as Early Decision.

Early Decision. As with Early Action, you will typically apply early during your senior year. However, if you file an Early Decision application, the application is binding if the school accepts you. That means you should withdraw applications to other schools, and commit to attending this one.

This type of application can be helpful, because it lets the school know they are your top choice.

Hint: Apply with Early Decision status at your top-choice school, if you’re absolutely certain you want to go there, and don’t use Early Decision applications anywhere else. 

Regular Decision. This is the default application schedule for most colleges. You will file your application by the deadline, which falls in January or February for most schools. By April, you  should receive a decision. Then, you must commit by about May, in most cases, to secure your spot in the incoming freshman class.

This is a good application status to use if you have several top-choice schools, and aren’t overly attached to one in particular, or if you’re applying for back-up schools because your Early Decision application was turned down.

Rolling Admission. If a school hasn’t filled all spots for its rising freshman class, they might still accept your application based upon Rolling Admission. Typically, the deadlines for this admission status fall around July 1, assuming the school hasn’t filled all open spots. But because schools can and do fill up, file this application as early as possible anyway.

Keep in mind that these are just admission application deadlines. You might be subject to other deadlines based on special programs, on-campus housing, and more. Make sure you communicate regularly with your chosen college(s) to be sure that you’re familiar with all application deadlines, so that you don’t miss something important. And as always, give us a call if you have questions about preparing for standardized testing or writing admissions essays. We’ll be happy to help you brush up on your skills to give you the best shot at your dream school.


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