For many students and parents, this is their first and maybe only foray into the college admissions process and can be daunting. Understanding that, we've created some helpful basic information to ensure you have a foundation to jump off of as you begin or continue the college admissions process.
The Four Main Types of College Application Deadlines
Regular Decision: This is the most common type of application and is likely what your parents did if they applied to college. The deadline tends to be January 1st or thereabouts but you MUST check each individual college to be certain. You will normally receive a decision by the end of March. If you are accepted you are asked to let them know if you will attend by May 1st.
Early Decision: This is a BINDING agreement with only ONE school that says if you get accepted to that school you will attend that school. The deadline tends to be November 1st or 15th but you MUST check each individual college to be certain. You will normally receive a decision by the middle of December. If you are accepted you are committed to attending the college and signed paperwork in your application stating such.
Early Action: This is like regular decision but moves the timeline up earlier. You apply early so you get a decision earlier and have more time to deliberate which school you would like to attend. This is NOT binding. The deadline tends to be November 1st or 15th but you MUST check each individual college to be certain. You will normally receive a decision by the middle of December.
Rolling Admission: This is a non binding admissions plan that accepts applications as they come In and makes admissions decisions after receiving a certain number of applications. They might wait and review applications after they receive 1000 and then the next 1000 and so on. It is similar to early action in that the earlier you apply the earlier you get a decision. However, this is also good for students who are late to the game and missed regular decision deadlines in January. As long as the school still has space you can still send in an application and receive an admissions decision.
Timeline of College Application Deadlines
Nov 1st: Many Early Decision and Early Action deadlines for colleges
Nov 15th: Additional Early Decision and Early Action deadlines for colleges
December 1st: Many schools require applications by 12/1 for scholarship consideration.
January 1st: Most popular deadline for regular decision for college acceptance