Monthly Archives: May 2015

Early Decision, Early Action, Restrictive Early Action, Regular Decision, Rolling Admission

It’s time to figure out some application strategy, in terms of when and how to apply to a College. You have options for how you apply to a particular College. Those options may include Early Decision, Early Action, Restrictive Early Action, Regular Decision and/or Rolling Admission Application Plans, depending on the College. Before we get into the details, it’s important for you to understand an important factor in the Admissions game, which is Yield.

When and how you apply to College can have a big impact on outcome.  In general, there are five ways (or plans) to apply to College:

  1. Early Decision (ED) – sometimes there is ED1 and ED2

    Applying Early Can be a Good Thing... Unless it's Not

    Applying Early Can be a Good Thing… Unless it’s Not

  2. Early Action (EA) – sometimes there is EA1 and EA2
  3. Restrictive Early Action (REA) – AKA Single-Choice Early Action
  4. Regular Decision (RD)
  5. Rolling Admission (RA)

Colleges don’t offer all of these options; typically they offer RD plus one other application plan, unless they offer RA.

A College’s policy regarding offering financial and/or merit aid for different admission plans (ED vs. RD, for example) are important considerations that should be discussed with the College’s Admission Officer. It is also important to research and discuss admission rates for the different application plans. Finally, ask about early application plans acceptance rates, adjusted for athletes and legacies.

About 450 Colleges have Early Decision or Early Action plans.  To determine which application plans are offered at a particular College, type <school name> undergraduate admissions deadlines in your search engine. Again, a College Counselor can be invaluable in navigating this complex process.

Checkout Deadlines and Timelines for related information.

Pixabay Spreadsheet

Application Plans, Deadlines by College & By Date

See the spreadsheets below for ideas on how to track application deadlines for each Application Plan they offer. You will want to track this information by College and by due date.

Application Plans, Deadlines, by College

Application Deadlines, by Date

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Important Tip When Registering for Standardized Tests

Openclipart Pencil

When you register for the PSAT and SAT, there is optional information you can input on your registration form, such as your date of graduation, GPA, intended major, family income and much more. The College Board, which operates the SAT, sells that information along with your test scores (I believe it is a score range, not your specific score) to interested Colleges. Per their website, over 1200 Colleges purchase this information.  Colleges can then target their marketing to a particular profile of student.

Unrestricted Stock Robot

College Board’s Student Search Service can be helpful for prospective College Students

The College Board calls this process the Student Search Service. My first reaction was that I did not want my daughter to hand out personal information to help Colleges target their marketing. On the other hand, it makes sense for MIT, a very selective College that specializes in programs like Engineering, Computer and Natural Sciences, to not send catalogs to a below average student who is interested in Psychology. While you may become sick of all the mail and wasted paper, registering for the Student Search Service is a good idea for many reasons:

  • You are put on potential Colleges’ radar, which is important to the College. Mary Smith is applying, but does not appear to have ever visited the school or made contact with an Admissions Officer. But I do see that Mary was on our mailing list, so maybe she made an informed decision and is truly interested in our College, which means she might enroll if she is accepted into our school. (Although I would not recommend applying to a College without having even had a phone conversation with an Admissions Officer, to demonstrate your interest.)
  • You learn what sorts of Colleges are interested in your credentials (GPA, Test Score) and that offer the majors you are interested in.  You may have your heart set on going to College in Washington, DC, but not have heard of Goucher, because it is nearby but not in Washington, DC.  On reading the brochure, you find out that Goucher is known for its environmental initiatives and has a nuclear magnetic resonance spectometer, which for some reason, makes you excited. BTW, that example was completely made up, although for all I know Goucher does have a NMRS (an acronym I also made up!). Keep in mind that some Colleges have extensive mail marketing programs, to increase their annual applications, which decreases their acceptance rate, thereby becoming a more selective College. A brochure from University of Chicago doesn’t mean that you are qualified to enroll at University of Chicago or that U of Chicago has programs that match your interests.
  • The marketing materials will include offers (some may offer you Scholarships, based on your credentials) and opportunities (a special campus visitors day, for example).
  • The brochures and other marketing materials can help you learn more about a College (maybe one you have never even heard of), to determine if it might suit you.
  • Those brochures can also be helpful when you are writing an essay in your application about “Why you want to attend this College?”. Lots of the same information is available online, but there often is material not seen on-line, which gives you an advantage over other students who have only gained knowledge about the College through their website.

Pixabay TestIt’s interesting to note that even Colleges that are test-optional purchase this information. This 2011 Bloomberg article discusses this practice.

© Complete Systems, LLC dba, All Rights Reserved
*** is a division of Complete Systems, LLC ***