Tagged: early action

Revisiting Your College List After EA/ED Notifications

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I know that many of you reading this post have applied either early action or early decision to your dream school(s). I also know that the early action and early decision notification dates are just DAYS away! It’s an exciting time, but also a stressful time. What if you aren’t admitted to the schools to which you applied early? It would be the end of the world, right? ListWrong. I promise you, the sun will rise again and life will go on. How do I know? From experience, my dear readers! Your blogger, years ago, applied early decision to Williams College. I was deferred, and later rejected. It was terrible. I’d never felt so disappointed before. I was quite certain that I’d never be happy at any of the other schools on my college list. From this experience, however, I learned a valuable lesson – many of the moments in life that seem initially to be failures are often opportunities in disguise! Though I’m sure I would have loved studying at Williams, I went on to make some of my closest friends and to spend some of the happiest years of my life at Skidmore College, a school I wouldn’t have seriously considered had I not been rejected from my top-choice school. So, thank goodness for that rejection letter! Thank goodness I came to learn that there is not only one perfect school for each of us, but many possibilities of great schools to consider. Thank goodness I took the time to revisit my college list.

In the coming days some of you will receive notifications of acceptance – congratulations! Others of you, however, will not receive the news that you’re very much hoping for. Don’t despair! You may still get in during the regular admissions process, and you may also, along the way, discover more gems of schools that you hadn’t before seriously considered. Know also that Admitster is here to help as you continue on your journey to college. To begin with, you can register an account with us (it’s free!), thereby giving yourself access to our many powerful online admissions tools, including the awesome College List Builder. This tool can help you to further refine your current college list, letting you know your odds of admission at the schools you’ve listed and also offering suggestions of new schools to which you may consider applying in order to make your list more well-balanced (in terms of reach, target, and safety schools) and robust.

Secondly, beyond our free online tools, we also offer some very affordable college admissions services, including expert reviews of your personal statements and college essays, and personalized admissions advising. Our college admissions experts can help you with all or any combination of the following – College list building; Developing a personalized admissions plan; Completing an application planning calendar; Application and essay review; and help with navigating those choppy financial aid waters. Along these lines, there’s a great five hour advising package available – five little hours can really change your life, helping to boost your chances of admission to the schools on your college list!

In short, and as ever, we’re here to help. If you haven’t been admitted to your top-choice schools via early decision/early action, rest assured that there are still plenty of incredible opportunities out there. Take it from someone who had an early decision door slammed in her face – it wasn’t the end of my college journey, but the beginning of a great adventure.

Wedding Bells

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September is upon us, students across the country are back in class, and many high school seniors are likely mulling over in their heads the question of whether they should apply to college early (note that the deadlines for early applications are usually in November – just a few weeks away!), apply via rolling admissions, or apply through the regular admissions deadlines.  There is much to consider! To begin with, know that there are crucial differences between applying to schools using early decision versus early action.  An earlier post covered this in greater detail (click here to delve into it) but for today’s purposes, suffice it to say that you can apply early action to more than one college and an acceptance does not commit you to that particular school.  Applying early decision, on the other hand, means that you can apply to only one school (the one you dream and daydream about on a regular basis) and if you’re accepted then you’ve already committed yourself to attending.

Using an analogy, think of early action like being in a committed relationship (you’re definitely interested in this person!), but neither one of you has yet gotten down on one knee.  Early decision takes things to the next level – it’s marriage, it’s commitment.  If both parties (applicant and college) are on the same page, it’s the equivalent of rings on fingers, new in-laws, you’re talking kids and mortgages, and before you know it you’re posting videos like this on youtube!



In other words, you should only apply to school early decision if you are really and truly ready to commit.  Two things that would be high on my list of factors to consider?

  1. Any couple about to tie the knot should first have discussed their personal finances with each other, and this is no different.  Know that if you apply early decision, you’re only applying to one school so will only receive a financial aid offer from one school – in other words, you won’t be in a position to compare different financial aid packages.
  2. Think about the timing of an early decision application.  I like the description of this given in a recent Burlington County Times article – “If you think of yourself as a stock, the goal is to sell yourself at the highest possible point. Early decision applicants are selling themselves based on where they stand at the end of the all-important junior year. If you feel you’ve maxed out your SAT/ACT score, feel confident about your GPA as-is, and have no regrets about the rigor of your courses from 9th through 11th grade then you may have hit the apex of your high school career.”  If this describes your situation, then feel free to apply early decision to your dream school.  You’re in a very good position to do so.  However, late bloomers, those who need just a little more time to prove their academic and extracurricular prowess, should probably apply to college using regular admissions deadlines.

If you feel that applying early decision is definitely the way forward given your personal situation and aspirations, then be sure that you meet all of your deadlines for the submission of your application and for standardized tests, if you intend to submit them.  For instance, you need to take the SAT by October for the scores to be available in time for early applications.

A great starting point in thinking about all of this?  Click here to see which schools offer early decision and to take note of when, exactly, all of the deadlines are.  Do I hear wedding bells ringing?

(Early) Enough To Make Your Head Spin!

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time3Early action, early decision, rolling admissions, regular admissions – it’s enough to make your head spin! Like so many things in life, success in the college admissions process depends, at least in part, on timing. Not only do you have to ensure that you don’t miss deadlines along the way (e.g. for standardized testing or deadlines related to financing your college education), but you also need to give thought to your college admissions strategy as it relates to the timing of your applications.

Here is a very brief run-down of your options:

Early Action – Students applying to a school using the early action option will usually submit their completed applications by mid-November and hear back from colleges by January. However, being accepted via early action does not commit the applicant to that particular college or university, and students usually don’t need to inform the college of whether to expect them at orientation or not until May 1st. It’s also nice to know that you can apply via early action to more than one school.

Early Decision – As is the case with early action, an early decision applicant applies to his/her dream college in the fall. However, there are crucial differences to note between early action and early decision! To begin with, you can only apply to one school using the early decision option, and you should only apply to this one school if you really, and I mean really, want to go there, because if you’re accepted then you’ve already committed yourself to attending. In short, if you’ve gotten down on one knee, proposed, and the school responded (usually by December) saying, “Yes! Yes!  A thousand times, yes!“, then it’s time to plan the wedding.

Rolling Admissions – A college with a rolling admissions policy will accept applications at any time, up until a final deadline. An advantage for students of applying via rolling admissions is that they should hear soon after submitting their application whether they’ve been accepted, and won’t have to wait until March or April for a response.

Regular Admissions – With this option, you decide to apply to a college by meeting its regular, normal, good ol’ fashioned admissions deadline.

A future post will consider the pros and cons of these different strategies, but for now know that not every college offers these options, so do your research. “Where should I begin?”, you may ask, perhaps feeling a bit overwhelmed. An excellent starting point would be to take a closer look at the colleges (and there are over 500 of them) that accept the Common Application. Check out this page for a list of schools, which types of admissions options they offer, and what their specific deadlines are. Yes, your head may be spinning but there’s a simple way to calm the vertigo and get your feet more firmly planted on the ground – plan ahead! I suggest the following:

Buy a calendar.  Write important deadlines on that calendar.  Update that calendar frequently.

Whatever your strategy turns out to be (early action, early decision, regular admissions), the deadlines are crucial. Put them on your shiny, new calendar.  Use red ink.

Whether you are a natural planner or need to force yourself to go out and buy that calendar, being as organized as possible throughout the process is truly the best way to keep yourself from feeling completely overwhelmed, to keep your head from spinning.