Applying to college usually takes place during your senior year of high school. There are different deadlines depending on the school and also depending on the timing of your application. The deadline options are the following: early decision, early action, regular decision, and rolling admissions.
Early decision and early action applicants both usually are due in November.
- Early decision plans are binding; if you are accepted, then you must go to that institution and withdraw applications to other universities. Also, because you have to go to that school, you will not be able to compare financial aid packages with other schools so keep that in mind. If you need extensive financial aid, this may be troubling. You usually receive this admission very well in advance around December.
- Early action plans are non binding. If accepted, you still have time to make your final decision until the national deadline of May 1, College Decision Day. You usually receive an admission decision around January/February.
- These application deadlines should be pursued for schools that you have extensively done your research on and are your first choices. If your grades have been consistently high and you meet/exceed the standardized test score and GPA of the average incoming class, these are the deadlines for you!
- These deadline options can rescind, or take away, their acceptance if you do not perform well during your senior year. Don’t let senioritis get to you!
Regular decision deadlines are usually around January with admission decisions being received in March.
- You must make your final decision on your institution by May 1.
- This deadline is especially good for your “safe” schools, schools that you are pretty sure you will get into.
- This gives you more time to turn in applications, but keep in mind that this may also fall in the same time frame as finals and applying for scholarships.
- Rolling admission deadlines are the same as regular decision deadlines, but the institutions do not wait until the deadline to send out acceptances. They send it out as soon as they make the decision. This is usually not a choice for applying for many colleges so just be sure to turn in all applications in a timely manner so you can hear back more quickly.
- Be sure to check each school’s deadlines. They are usually school specific!