Applying to College Early

Danielle Bianchi Golod - Austin, TX College Counselor
Danielle Bianchi Golod - Austin, TX College Counselor | Source

Early Application Glossary

College application season is upon us. For many students and parents this is the most stressful time of the entire college admission process. I wanted to share the Glossary from a report I created called "Everything You Need to Know About Applying to College Early." The glossary helps explain what some of the most frequently used terms are in the college application process. 

Glossary

Regular Admission / Regular Decision (RD):

Every college/university in the United States has a regular admission due date by which the application must be submitted.  The most common due date is January 1st, but may be different.

Early Action (EA):

Students can submit applications at an earlier date, and if accepted for Early Action (EA), the decision they make (should they decide to accept) is non-binding.  To make things more confusing, some schools offer two Early Action deadline dates.  For most schools, the Early Action (EA) deadline is November 1st or 15th.

Restrictive/ Restricted/Single Choice Early Action (REA):

Allows students to apply to only one early action school (Boston College is an exception) and prohibits applying to any school via early decision.  Deadlines are usually November 1st or 15th.  Please refer to Yale, Stanford, & Boston College on the following page.  REA affords the student the ability to review financial aid packages offered at other institutions.

Early Decision (ED):

Is a binding commitment to enroll in the college/university.  If accepted, the student must attend and withdraw any other applications that are outstanding.  There are many restrictions involved with Early Decision including a binding contract, non-refundable fees, and other paperwork.  Early Decision I & II refer to different due dates for Early Decision.  The 1st usually refers to a November 1st or 15th deadline and the latter refers to the regular admission application deadline.  These plans are made available so students can explore financial aid options.

Rolling Decision:

Is a first-come-first-served type of process; students can apply after the “open” date up until the regular admission application deadline.   Decisions are generally made within 30 to 45 days of receipt of the application. 

Pooling Admission Process:

Describes a process some larger public universities use to attract early applications.  While these schools accept applications earlier than most, the decisions are made after the regular admission application deadline has passed.  In other words, there is no real benefit to the student other than “crossing one off the list.”

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