Timetables for Application
Although with rolling admission there may be a date after which applications are not accepted, students apply throughout the fall and winter. Decisions are made by the admission office on a “rolling” basis and replies are generally sent out within four to six weeks of receipt of a completed application. As with regular decision, admission comes with no obligation to attend.
Under Early Decision plans students apply by an earlier deadline than the regular decision date, such as November 1 rather than January 15. Under this plan students receive their decision late in the fall. Offers of admission are binding, and if you are accepted you are obligated to attend that institution. Applications to other colleges cannot be made after acceptance under this program. Consequently, you should apply Early Decision to a school only if you are certain it is your top choice, and after considering how applying early will affect other possible factors like financial aid packages.
Early Action is identical to Early Decision, except that the decision is not binding. You may be accepted under an Early Action plan and continue applying to other schools.
Some schools offer Restricted Early Action. REA is a non-binding early action admission option in which you may not apply to any other schools’ early program, except:
- A college outside of the US
- A non-binding rolling admission program
- A public college or university whose admission is not binding.
“Early” application programs have exploded in popularity, but the great majority of students are still admitted through the regular decision process. Before you commit to any obligation at any school, make sure it is truly your top choice. Too often students exclaim, “I am definitely applying early, I just don’t know where.” It is a mistake to take this approach. Remember, the vast majority (usually around 75-80%) of any class will not commit to any final college choice until spring of the senior year.