Applying to college isn’t just a matter of figuring out how or where or why! There’s also when. Don’t let a college applications calendar scare you.
Colleges offer a variety of application deadlines. It is important to be intentional in your choices because some styles are binding! Below are the most common types of decisions and what they mean. Don’t wait until the last-minute to set up a clear calendar schedule for yourself.
What is my timeline?
It is highly recommended for juniors to start planning now so you don’t have to rush to collect your materials in time. It may feel early, but consider all the things you want to include on your personal college applications calendar.
You might have to:
- schedule tests throughout junior year,
- write essays over the summer (or in the spring of junior year),
- and especially ask for letters of recommendation before you go away for vacation.
There is no time to waste.
Let’s review the different phases of the college application process to keep in mind when you make your calendar.
1. Early Decision
Early Decision is the strictest. It is a binding decision meaning if you apply early decision to a school and are accepted you must go to that school. The only exception is if the financial aid package is not enough to make attendance viable. Early Decision is an excellent choice only for your top school so that if you get in you’re excited to attend!
2. Early Action
Early Action is non-binding. If you get into a school early action and are accepted you can still wait until the traditional May 1 decision deadline. It is a good way to show a school that it is your top choice without the strict commitment of early decision.
3. Restricted Early Action
Restricted Early Action is a mix of the two. It is non-binding but you may only apply to this one school early. This shows a higher level of commitment than normal early action and should again be reserved only for your top choice school.
4. Rolling Admissions
Rolling admissions allow you to get your admissions decision proportionate to when you submitted your application–the sooner you submit, the sooner you hear back! This is helpful for easing the stress of waiting until March without the tough commitment decisions of the styles above.
Another key phase to keep in mind:
Deferrals: If you apply to a school early and are deferred, this means your application has been put into the regular decision pool and you will hear a final decision in (usually) March when the rest of the decisions come out!
It’s time to build a college applications calendar for yourself! The deadlines for many Early Decision and Early Action programs are approaching so hopefully your applications are well on their way. T
he application process is certainly tiring but don’t forget to keep working on your regular decision applications while waiting to hear early offers (the UC’s are due on Nov. 30 for example!) Choose wisely.
Confused by all the options? There’s no need to stress about figuring it all out on your own. If you’d like to have a real person walk you through your options and help you decide what plan of action is best for YOUR future, reach out today. Our counselors are waiting to help. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you’re on the right track to succeed.