For savvy high school seniors, the college visits have already been completed, the SAT scores are in the bag, an impressive list of accomplishments and extracurriculars has been compiled, and only one task remains: the college application essay.
If your high school senior is on the exciting journey to college, this can be a stressful time for teens and families. If your teen would like to take some of the pressure off senior year, apply early, and have a decision made before the typical spring notifications, there are a couple of options.
But, it is important to understand the responsibilities that accompany each. Timing is crucial for meeting deadlines, so all of the application components, and especially the essay, must be ready (and perfected) with time to spare.
Two of the early application procedures available are Early Action and Early Decision. November 1 marks the first of both early college application deadlines. Here are some of the important features of both:
- If accepted to a college, can accept immediately or wait until the spring
- May apply to other colleges using Early Action
- This is NOT a binding contract
- Committed to attend this particular college if accepted, even if its financial aid package is inadequate
- May not apply to other colleges using Early Decision
- May apply via the Regular Admissions process
- If accepted to the first choice school early, required to withdraw any other applications submitted
- Notification by December 1
- This IS a binding contract
Although Early Decision is a serious commitment, there are incredible benefits, According to Ian Fisher, director of educational counseling at educational advising firm College Coach, in a recent article for CNBC, “Perhaps the biggest perk of applying to college early decision is that it can often increase a student’s chances of getting accepted. Early decision comes with a pretty big benefit for applicants. Places like Duke and Northwestern, for example, admit close to half of their freshman class in the early decision round.”
So, if your student is 100% (or 110%) sure that this is the right choice, Early Decision can be a major boost toward getting into a reach college.
If neither Early Action nor Early Decision is the right option for your student, 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.
Start Prepping for Early College Applications by Writing a Winning Essay NOW!
Hoping for admission to your “dream college?” From Harvard, to Notre Dame, to Vanderbilt, today’s top colleges and universities are looking for more than just stellar test scores and impressive grades. Elite colleges also want a well-rounded student, a leader, and someone who will add to the school’s campus in a positive way.
That’s me! That’s me! You may be saying. But, how do you get all of that across to the admissions team? The make-it-or-break-it college essay.
The college essay is your chance (sometimes your only chance) to explain who you are, why you are a great fit for the college, and who you want to become. No matter what topic you select, the essay must be exceptionally well written, perfect in grammar, spelling and punctuation, AND a compelling, memorable read.
“The essay is your megaphone — your view of the world and your ambitions. It’s not just a resume or a regurgitation of everything you’ve done. It needs to tell a story with passion, using personal, entertaining anecdotes that showcase your character, your interests, your values, your life experiences, your views of the world, your ambitions and even your sense of humor,” explains Janet Morrissey for the New York Times.
It’s a tall (and somewhat terrifying) order for most seniors who are already overburdened juggling multiple, high level classes, sports practices, community service, and sometimes even a part-time job. And, if applying Early Decision or Early Action, the pressure is even greater!
Haven’t finished writing your college essay, yet? Or, haven’t even started? Back to Basics Learning Dynamics in Wilmington, Delaware can help with expert 1-on-1 tutoring in essay writing. Back to Basics tutors will never write an essay for you, but will provide crucial expertise in crafting college essays, high school essays, and teach you a host of essential college-level writing skills.