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College Application Process

College Application Process

The College Application Process

If you have a junior or senior in high school, the college application process can be daunting.  Between early decision, early decision 2, early action, and regular decision, knowing the deadlines and getting the supplemental essays done is no simple task.  So, I spoke to my friends at Home & Family and broke it all down.

Benefits of Early Decision

  • Early decision applicant pools generally have higher acceptance rates than Regular Decision applicant pools.
  • You will know in mid December if you are accepted to your first choice school.  If you are, you do not have to submit other applications.
  • Early decision is binding meaning if you get into the school, you must attend.
  • Deadline for Early Decision 1 is between November 1 and November 15  for most schools and students will find out the decision in mid December.
  • Some schools also offer Early Decision 2. You’ll submit your application by January 1st, which is often the same deadline as for Regular Decision applications. You’ll likely hear back about your admissions decision in mid-February. Your chances of acceptance are still higher than in the regular applicant pool.
  • You may either be accepted, rejected, or deferred.
  • If you are deferred, you are released from your ED  commitment to that college, and your application is later reconsidered with the rest of the Regular Decision application pool. You’ll receive a final verdict on your application whenever the RD applicants hear back, generally in March or April.
  • You will not be obligated to attend the school should you be admitted in the RD round.

Benefits of Early Action

  • Early action applicants send in their applications in November and are notified in December about whether they were accepted, denied or deferred. If a student is accepted, they are able but not required to attend.
  • If a student is denied, they will not be able to attend. If a student is deferred, they will be considered for acceptance during the regular application period.
  • The non-binding nature of early action is beneficial for two reasons. First, it means that students can compare multiple schools and take a few more months to make their decisions. Second, early action allows for students to make a more informed financial decision.

Tips For Those Applying Early Decision

Make sure all materials are in order

  • Check that transcripts, test scores, and other materials have been sent and received to the school.


  • If you’re waiting on a recommendation letter, politely follow up with your recommender to make sure it’s submitted on time.

Get It Done Early

  • Don’t wait until the day before to make sure everything is in order – by then it might be too late.
  • There’s also the chance that other things, like power outages, Internet problems, or other factors outside students’ control, could keep them from getting their application in before the deadline.
  • Aim to complete your application a few days before the deadline, allowing ample time for review and proofreading, and submit it early.

Tips for Your Supplements

Supplements should match the school you are apply to:

  • It’s important to have tailored essays that mention specifics about the school, your interests, and how you plan to pursue them at that institution.

Have someone proofread the essay

  • Careless errors can hurt your application if they misrepresent important information.
  • Read the essay out loud to catch grammar mistakes

Regular decision applications

  • Continue to work on your regular decision applications even if you applied early somewhere else.
    After the rush to the early decision finish line, it’s easy to want to just await their early admission acceptance, especially if they believe they will get in to the school of their choice. But, there are no guarantees in college admissions so its better to have it ready than to scramble on December 15th and ruin the holidays.