Admit it, college application policies and deadlines can be confusing. Many colleges and universities, despite their selectivity, offer myriad ways to apply: Early Action, Early Decision, Single-Action Early Action, Rolling Admission, etc. In addition, these policies are continually changing. During the 2007-2008 admission cycle, Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Virginia eliminated their early admission policies. Now, 2011-2012 admission cycle has all three schools reinstating forms of early admission. With these options and their changes , clear definitions and the consequences are needed to empower students to make the wisest choice. Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to offer some clear definitions and strategies for application deadlines.
Early Action. This option allows students to apply to a college by November 1 with admission notification being made by mid-December. This is a non-binding admission policies and students may submit applications to more than one school with an early action policy. This may be a viable option for students. When Yale and Stanford introduced their early action policies, applications rose over 44% and acceptance rates tumbled to an all-time low. M.I.T., The University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina all have early action options.
Restrictive Early Action. Like early action, students will receive admission decisions by mid-December and are not obligated to commit to the school. Although students may apply to other schools with early action options, they may not apply to schools with binding early admission policies. Boston College and Georgetown University have restrictive early action options.
Single-Choice Early Action. Although students are not obligated to attend the school if granted admission, they may only apply to one early action/decision school. The applications are due by November 1 and decisions are mailed by mid-December. Harvard University and Yale University have a popular single-choice early action option.
Early Decision I. The traditional early decision with applications due by November 1 and notification by mid-December. Students may only apply to one school with the early decision policy and these decisions are binding. Many schools such as Bowdoin College and Wake Forest University have an early decision option.
Early Decision II. With the exception of the application and notification dates, this option is the same as early decision in that it is binding and applicants may submit to only one school. The deadline is January 1.
Regular Admission. These applications produce the largest applicant pools with applications due from December 15 – January 1 and decisions being mailed by mid-March. This option is non-binding.
The options for applying to college have changed. Understanding these policies is the responsibility of the student and a violation could jeopardize admission. As more and more students apply to college, considering an early option is a strong strategy for admission. Many schools fill over 40% of the incoming freshmen class from the early applicant pool. We do, however, urge students to apply with an early strategy. With an early application policy, acceptance rates can range from 25 – 40 % as opposed to the 6 – 9 % in the regular admission pool. An early application policy can be a strong strategy but it is your responsibility to read the fine print carefully and stay within the guidelines for every school you choose.
Crisp Consulting + Coaching has information regarding admission, education and school options on our YouTube Channel.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.