There are so many different types of admissions options— each with a different deadline and implication for enrollment. Deadlines vary not only from school to school but also within a school. Application deadlines may differ from the due dates for specific programs and scholarships.
If you’re considering early decision, early action or rolling applications, this is the month to focus on completing these applications. It’s also vital to look beyond these deadlines to the regular round of applications and continue to research all the schools on your list.
Early Decision (ED): Application deadlines tend to be early to mid-November with decisions coming in mid-December. If accepted, the decision binds you to the school. An early decision application conveys your eagerness to attend. So, if you’re a strong candidate, this willingness to commit may improve your odds. Admission rates for early decision candidates are generally higher than for students who apply regular decision. Many schools also offer a binding Early Decision II (EDII) deadline of around January 1st, with decisions generally coming in mid-February. Note that you can only choose one school to apply ED.
Early Action (EA): As an Early Action candidate, you typically need to submit applications by early to mid-November and will then receive a decision by mid-December. EA allows you to demonstrate your interest to be admitted without the binding commitment that ED requires. Restrictive EA schools do not allow applicants to apply EA or ED elsewhere, while non-restrictive EA schools do allow students to apply EA or ED.
Rolling Admissions: Some colleges cycle on an ongoing basis where the application process typically opens early fall and may continue as late as summer or as long as spaces are available. Applicants are notified of their outcome as applications are processed so applying as early as possible may improve your chances of acceptance. Also, while there may be no application deadline, there typically are deadlines for scholarships, financial aid and housing.
Regular Decision: The deadline for Regular Decision varies from school to school but is usually between January 1 and mid-February. Decisions are typically received mid-March through early April. Please be aware of other deadlines for special programs and scholarships.
Open Admission: Community colleges and many online school programs offer open enrollment to most high school graduates and GED certificate holders.
Be sure you understand all the different application choices and are aware of the deadlines for each school on your list. Make yourself a chart to keep track of the due dates ans stay on top them so you can remain organized.