Application Timeline – EA, RD, ED, EA-R
Students are getting back into the swing of school this month and are gearing up for the college application season. With September coming in just a week or so, I wanted to take time and clarify some terms that might be confusing for families who are applying for college in 2015. I hope the below information helps you and your student when choosing which option to choose for deadlines. Regardless of your decision, students need to complete and submit their application before December 1st in order to be reviewed for scholarships. In fact, in some cases, students need to be applying by November 1st! Please be sure to read through each of your colleges to be clear as to their scholarship policies and deadlines. Remember if merit scholarships are important to you then you might NOT want to apply ED to any institution.
EARLY ACTION (EA) This is a non-binding agreement. Early Action Deadlines for most colleges are typically October 15th or November 1st. Applying Early Action will eliminate the college from looking at the student’s senior year first semester grades. This admission plan is non-binding and offered by a lot of colleges. The student will receive a decision notification around mid December. Students applying under Early Action may also apply to other colleges and does not have to accept or refuse the EA offer of admission until May 1. Some examples of EA colleges are University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of South Carolina.
EARLY ACTION SINGLE CHOICE or RESTRICTIVE (EA-Single Choice) This is a non-binding agreement and should only be used if the student is confident about their college who offers this plan. Early Action Deadlines for most colleges are typically November 1st. This is when a student applies before the regular decision deadline as well as applies only Early Action to ONE college. There are exceptions to this rule. Students may apply to another college with early deadlines for scholarships or special academic programs as long as it is non-binding. In addition, students may apply to public universities with a non-binding early application or rolling option. Applicants may apply to other colleges and universities under their Regular Decision Option as well. Applying Early Action will eliminate the college from looking at the student’s senior year first semester grades. If you feel that your grade point average will improve and that you need to show another semester of good grades then applying early could hurt your chances of acceptance. The student will receive a decision notification around mid December. Students do not have to accept or refuse the EA offer of admission until May 1. Some examples of EA Single Choice colleges are Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, etc.
EARLY DECISION (ED) This is a binding admission plan that requires an early application (typically October or November) and promises a reply by December or January. There are two types of ED plans: (1) Single Choice, in which the student is allowed to apply to only one college and (2) First Choice, in which the student may apply elsewhere but agrees to withdraw other applications if accepted by the ED school. This plan is recommended only if the applicant is absolutely sure of his or her college choice. If accepted, the student is ethically obligated to attend if sufficient financial aid is offered. Some schools like Emory and Vanderbilt have two rounds of Early Decision allowing a student to have flexibility.
ROLLING or EARLY NOTIFICATION This admission plan does not have an actual hard deadline. Therefore, it is important to apply as early as possible. University of Alabama is an example of a rolling deadline. Rolling or early notification is an admission plan that promises an early notification to the applicant. The student is not obligated to attend, if accepted.
REGULAR DECION Regular Decision is the normal process by which students apply by published deadlines, like January 1st, with promise of receiving an admissions offer by April 1st.
Please be aware that it is your student’s responsibility to decide when to apply to his or her college choices. If your student decides an ED or EA SINGLE CHOICE plan then he or she will need to have your signature and their Counselor’s signature stating they understand the ED or EA Single Choice Agreement. This is a form that will be part of the college’s application.