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Education Blog

College Deadlines

August 1st is around the corner and that means college applications will become available to the Class of 2020! With applications opening up, I thought it might be helpful for families to know exactly what EA, ED, Rolling, RD, etc. really mean. Here is a quick overview of college deadlines and decisions!

Some students will need to complete and submit their application before December 1st in order to be reviewed for scholarship opportunities. In fact, in some cases, students need to be applying by November 1st! Please be sure to read through each of your college’s application procedures and requirements to be clear about your school’s scholarship policies and deadlines. Remember if merit scholarships are important to you then you might NOT want to apply ED to any institution.


This is a non-binding agreement. Applying Early Action will eliminate the college from looking at the student’s first semester grades senior year. This admission plan is non-binding and offered by a lot of colleges. It’s a great way to get an answer early!


This is a non-binding agreement and should only be used if the student is confident about attending this 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 first semester grades senior year, but if accepted then your student has an answer early!


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: ED I and ED II. ED I is usually around November 1st and ED II is January 1st. These plans are 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.


This admission plan does not have an actual hard deadline. Therefore, it is important to apply as early as possible. Ole Miss is a great example! They released their application in July and some students already have their answer!


Regular Decision is a process by which students apply by published deadlines, like January 1st, with the 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.

It is critical to have a game plan and to know what your high school guidelines are as well. Don’t wait, know your schools, know the dates!

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