Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision, Rolling Admission? Which one should I choose?
Application submission choices vary by college. The four types are listed below and not all colleges offer each. There are some derivations of these at some schools, but most have a compilation of the choices listed below:
Early Action – If the school receives all of your materials (i.e., application, transcript, recommendations, test scores) by the designated “Early Action” deadline your response from the school will be sent at an earlier date than those applying for regular decision, typically prior to the end of December but at times by mid-January. This option is non-binding where if the student is accepted they are not required to attend the school.
Early Decision – This option is legally binding where both the student and parent sign a contractual agreement. If the student is accepted they are legally bound to attend this school, regardless of what other schools they have applied to or have accepted them thus far. Once the acceptance from an Early Decision application is received the student is required to pull their application from all other schools that they have applied to. Only use this option if you are 100% sure that if you get accepted you want to attend.
Rolling Admissions – For schools that have this option, they review applications as they come in, typically starting the beginning of November, and send responses within a few weeks thereafter, on a rolling basis. There still is a deadline to submit the application, sometime between January and February, but their review and responses come out on a rolling, first come first served basis.
Regular Decision – Each school has a deadline for submitting their regular decision applications, typically, anywhere between January and February. It doesn’t matter when they review the applications, but they will send out their responses sometime after the deadline but before the end of March.
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