Many high school seniors will be taking full advantage of applying early to college this fall. Some simply because they don’t have the patience to wait until next May to know where they will be going, and some think they may have a better chance of acceptance if applying early. Early decision and early action allow students to make their applications by November 1st and receive an admission decision typically in by December 15th, just in time for the holidays.
It is estimated that 50% of students will apply early in the fall of 2018 and 80% of this group won’t decide to make their applications until mid-September. Some high schools predict that 70% of their seniors will apply early. It is important to note that financial aid forms must be completed by November 15th, full 2-½ months earlier than the regular decision cycle.
Early decision acceptance plans are binding and students should only apply to one school via early decision (though many apply to more). If a student is accepted and the school offers an adequate financial package, the student is expected to attend. Early action acceptances are not binding; the student can apply to several schools via early action. The student can accept the offer immediately or wait until May 1 to decide. In many cases colleges accept a high percentage of students applying early, it could be as high as 40% at some elite schools, where the same schools may only accept 20% of the regular applications.
There is a new process being offered by some of the highly selective colleges. Single-choice early action is new and it is not binding. The student can only apply to one school thru this process. Students who apply single-choice early action can make applications to other colleges under regular admission and have until the regular decision deadline to decide. Yale, Harvard and Princeton have implemented the single-choice early action plan. The colleges get back to students with a “likely to admit” or a “not likely to admit” response four weeks after receiving the application.
You can’t help but recognize a common theme throughout this piece—the need to speed up the process. This adversely affects the guidance counselor because they can’t meet with students during this critical period since they are too busy processing the paperwork for one student who wants to apply to one school early decision as well as for early action. Parents are affected because they have to modify their summer plans to visit schools and more importantly they will need to get their financial house in order.
This generation of students needs immediate results and answers, when entering into the process of applying early to college, make certain that the student is prepared, organized and able to meet deadlines in order to be successful in their application process.
All parents need to do is be prepared to pay for it.