Early Decision (ED):Early decision plans are binding—students accepted as early decision applicants must attend the college.
· Students can apply to only one early decision college.
· Apply early (usually in Oct./Nov.) to first-choice college.
· Receive an admission decision from the college well in advance of the usual notification date (usually by December).
· If the college accepts a student and offers them enough financial aid, they must go to that college. That's why these plans are referred to as "binding."
· They must withdraw all other applications if they’re accepted by this college.
· Send a nonrefundable deposit well in advance of May 1.
Pros: May offer boost to admission, save time and money of submitting multiple applications, shows commitment
Cons: Senioritis, binding contract, application due sooner
Early Action (EA): Early action plans are non-binding—students get an early response to their application but don't have to commit to the college until the standard reply date of May 1.
· Students can apply to more than one early action college.
· If they're accepted, they can say yes right away or wait until spring to decide.
· Receive an admission decision from the college in advance of the usual notification date (usually by Jan./Feb.).
Pros: you receive an earlier response, may offer boost to admission
Cons: Time crunch for other applications if not accepted, reduced financial aid, senioritis
Regular Decision (RD): Regular decision plans are non-binding—the normal process by which students apply by published deadlines, with promise of receiving an admissions decision no later than April 1 of their senior year.
· Applications due between January and February.
· Decision dates vary (usually March – April).
Pros: Take more time to fill out applications, apply to as many colleges as you want, time for test retakes.
Cons: Waiting close to graduation to receive a decision, less time to prepare for college, might be a lot to handle with final exams and scholarships.
Rolling Admissions: Rolling Admissions are non-binding and means colleges view applications on an ongoing basis and start evaluating the applications as they come in and send out letters as soon as they’ve made a decision.
· It is a good idea to apply as soon as possible.
· Approximately 450 colleges use this process.
· Decision dates within 4 – 6 weeks from application.
Pros: You know quickly after you turn in your application, spread out your college applications.
Cons: Could hurt your chances or acceptance if you turn it in late, not all colleges offer Rolling Admissions, colleges may set priority deadlines, spots fill up quickly.
Bibliography: “What’s the Difference between Early Action and Early Decision? – For Parents & Guardians – The College Board.” For Parents & Guardians, 27 May 2018, https://parents.collegeboard.org/faq/whats-difference-between-early-action-and-early-decision. “Early Decision & Early Action Applications | College Board.” Education Professionals, 7 Sept. 2007, https://professionals.collegeboard.org/guidance/applications/early. Staff, College Raptor. “The 4 Different Types of College Application Deadlines.” College Raptor Blog, College Raptor, Inc., 7 Feb. 2017, https://www.collegeraptor.com/getting-in/articles/college-applications/understanding-the-4-different-types-of-college-deadlines/. “7 Different Types of College Admissions (& Which One Is Best for Your Student) - The Scholarship System.” The Scholarship System, https://facebook.com/TheScholarshipSystem, 30 Sept. 2018, https://thescholarshipsystem.com/blog-for-students-families/7-different-types-of-college-admissions-which-one-is-best-for-your-student/.