These days, the increasing competition for admissions to selective colleges and universities has resulted in a wide variety of admission options. Before a student decides which application options they will pursue, they must be certain that the type of admission plan they select will meet their needs. The most common types of admissions plans are listed below:

Applications are generally accepted for up to a four(4) month period, notification of the decision is typically within 4-5 weeks after the application is received; this option is offered by many state universities and less selective private schools

Deadline for submitting application generally between January 1 through January 15; notification of the decision is typically during early April

Early Decision
Although no one school is likely to have all these options, there are three different forms of an early decision plan:

Early Decision 1
Deadline for application generally around November 15, notification by mid-December, such
plans are “binding”(meaning you must pull back all applications to other schools 
if you plan on accepting the admission offer and you must notify the college on your decision
within one month)
Early Decision 2
Application deadline up to 4 weeks after the ED1 deadline, notification of decision within 4-6 
weeks, decisions are typically “binding”
Early Action
Offered by more selective schools, application due earlier than regular decision, notification
within 4-6 weeks, generally “non-binding”(you don't need to notify the college of your decision
until the beginning of May and you may pursue applications to other schools)

Early Decision plans are for you if:

  • you have “fallen in love” with one special school
  • you don't need much, if any, financial aid
  • your SAT scores, GPA and extra-curricular interests make you a strong applicant for that school
  • you are totally comfortable with your one and only choice: to the point that, if you get in, you won't mind the fact that you won't be able to pursue admission to any other school
Rolling or Regular Action plans are for you if:
  • you need financial aid
  • your transcript needs the benefit of better grades that you might be able to get the first half of your senior year
  • you don't have a clear-cut favorite out of the schools you want to apply to
  • you haven't had a chance to visit the campus
  • you have some degree of uncertainly about where you want to be for the next four years
Before you decide which application option(s) is best for you, consider the following information:

  • visit the campuses of any school you are seriously considering applying to
  • if you can not visit, contact the admissions office, ask for information to be sent to you about the school
  • talk to your teachers, parents and guidance counselor about careers and college choices
  • familiarize yourself with the application requirements and deadlines for each school
  • when you are mailing application information to a college, always keep a copy of the documents you have sent, you must be prepared for the possibility that the school may temporarily lose or misplace your packet
  • if you are applying to more than one school(up to eight or nine schools is commonplace), keep a checklist of the status of your application packet at all the schools
  • once you have submitted all the required information, call the admissions office to determine if your application packet is complete(remember to include the check for the application fee!)