Colleges open their admissions windows at different times to
receive applications – the “early” window, the “regular” window, or the
“rolling” window. In an
early decision or early action program they will entertain applications
submitted early in the academic year, such as early fall, with a
deadline usually set in or before the first week of November. In a regular decision program
they will accept applications in the middle of the academic year,
usually with a deadline in late December or early January. And in a rolling
program they will accept applications all year long, with rolling deadlines.
In turn, the dates when admissions decisions are rendered
depend on the type of program the college uses and the application deadlines
set in that program.
NOTE WELL: No matter whether applying in a program that
is “early” or “regular” or “rolling”, students should always check with the
individual colleges involved for exact deadlines and application requirements.
Early Decision and Early Action
The two primary modes of “early” programs are known as Early
Decision and Early Action. Generally, if a college uses an early program, it employs either one or the other.
Early Decision –
An important stipulation connected to this type of application is that
candidates agree that if they are accepted, they will attend. And, upon acceptance, they must withdraw any outstanding
applications to other colleges. This is
a binding commitment and often the
candidate signs an official agreement. Candidates
usually apply before November 1 and get notified of the decision sometime in
December. Some colleges have two or more
rounds of Early Decision, with the primary difference being different deadlines
and notification dates.
Early Action –
Very similar to Early Decision in terms of deadlines and notification dates,
with one major difference – candidates are not obliged to attend if accepted – there
is no binding agreement. (But always check with the individual colleges to be certain.)
Often, colleges stipulate that students applying “early” may
do so with only one college at a time.
In other words, students should not have two or more “early” applications
of any form submitted to different colleges concurrently. That is not to say, however, that students
who apply “early” to one college may not apply at the same time to other
colleges using a “regular” or “rolling” program. (Again, check with individual colleges to be certain
of specific requirements.)
Candidates applying “regular decision” usually submit by a
designated deadline before mid-January and are notified of the decision on or
before April 1. There are no obligations
to attend if accepted with this application process. Accepted students usually have until May 1 to
tell the college if they will attend or not.
Colleges that employ this type of program will accept
applications on a “rolling” basis at any point during the year, consider them quickly,
and render a decision in a matter of weeks.
Applications will be considered until all openings are filled.
For a more complete look at the college admission process, see COLLEGE ADMISSION: A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide To Getting Into The College Of Your Choice.CLICK HERE
If it's the end of March or beginning of April, one thing is sure - many colleges are sending decision letters or e-mails to applicants, signifying accept, reject, or wait-list.
With most colleges in the nation experiencing increased applications in recent years, it has been getting more and more difficult - statistically, at least - to get admitted. Highly selective schools in particular have been receiving so many applications for a fixed number of openings that admit rates have sunken to record lows. Stanford applications, for example, jumped nearly nine percent this year, to a total of 42,167. Of those, the college accepted 2,138.
Here are the admit rates (percentages) from some of the highly selective colleges for the Class of 2018: