Pros and Cons of Early College Applications

early-college-applicationsThe school year is flying by and Early College Application deadlines are already looming for many high school seniors. November 1 marks the first of two early college application deadlines. November 15 generally marks the second, although some universities and colleges may have their own application deadlines.

So, if you are applying early, there are just a few days left to finalize applications!

According to the College Board, there are three variations of early acceptance that are available to students. These include:

Early Decision

  • Apply to only one early decision college.
  • If the college accepts you and offers you enough financial aid, you must go to that college. That’s why these plans are referred to as “binding.”
  • Some colleges have two early deadlines, called early decision deadline I and early decision deadline II. They both work the same way, but the second deadline gives you more time to decide whether to apply early.
  • Although you may apply to additional colleges through the regular admission process, you must withdraw all other applications if you’re accepted by this college.

Early Action

  • Apply to more than one early action college.
  • If you’re accepted, you can say yes right away or wait until spring to decide or you can decline the offer.

Single-Choice Early Action

  • Apply early to only one college. Otherwise, these plans work the same as other early action plans.
  • You can still apply to other colleges through the regular admission process. And, you don’t have to give your final answer to the early application college until spring.

The benefits of applying to college early: Higher acceptance rates

According to College admissions counselor Kat Cohen of the Huffington Post, “When you apply early, you’re entering into a smaller applicant pool, albeit just as competitive as the regular decision pool. However, early admit rates still tend to be higher when compared to the regular or overall admission rates for a school. Some can even be two to three times higher.

For example, in the 2013 admissions season Middlebury College had a 35.3 percent early admit rate compared to its 17.4 percent regular decision admission rate. At the University of Pennsylvania, 24.9 percent of those who applied early were admitted, compared to the 9.4 percent of applicants who were admitted in the regular round.”

Applying early also shows that you are serious. Schools actually track how many applicants accept their offers of admission and release those numbers to the public. So, those numbers are important! A school looks good when a high percentage of accepted applicants chose to attend.

Plus, an early acceptance takes the pressure off. Of course, you must maintain grades and activities (see our article Rescinding The Offer), but it allows you to focus on the school year and not the process of applying.

If Early College Applications are not right for you

If Early Applications are not right for you, the Regular Admissions process is still available. In addition, many colleges and universities use a Rolling Admissions process.

Under Rolling Admissions, candidates are invited to submit their applications to the university anytime within a large window. The university will then review the application and notify the applicant of their decision within a few weeks from submission. The window simply closes when all spots are filled.

Whichever you application method choose, good luck!

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