Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

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Our counselors answered:

Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

Melissa Kunes
Senior Director, Office of Student Aid Penn State University

Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

Here is my video response to the question.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

College that admit highest number of early decision applicants

Newsweek recently published the statistics on colleges that admit the highest number if applicants via their Early Decision program. Following is the list: Dickinson College, Bucknell Davidson, Barnard College, Colorado College, Bates, Carleton College, Hamilton College, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Vassa, Williams, Northwestern, Middlebury, University of Pennsylvania Amherst, Cornell, Vanderbilt, Duke, Dartmouth

Michelle Aronoff
Guidance Counselor

You can never be too early

Early decision is a binding agreement, but even if you don't want to make that kind of commitment you should still apply as early as you can. Many colleges offer an Early Action option in which you don't have to commit yourself to the school, but you can still get your application reviewed early and receive an answer from admissions before they look at their regular admission candidates. In addition, some schools set earlier deadlines if you want scholarship consideration. These deadlines are usually sometime in November. Many students seem to think that if a college has rolling admissions there is no deadline and they can get the application in "whenever." When a school is rolling admissions they are reviewing applications as they are receiving them which means they are offering admission to other students before you have even gotten yours in. You want as little competition as possible when it comes to admissions so you should still get those is early! In fact, some schools with rolling admissions can fill their freshman class as early as February so don't wait! To be safe I would try and get all of your applications out by the end of November< regardless of the deadline.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Apply Early

It is always wise to apply early. Early Action will not bind you to the university but will let you know by January if you were accepted. If you absolutely know where you want to go you can apply Early Decision, but that decision is binding. If you are accepted, you MUST attend that college. Even if a college does not have an Early Action date, the earlier you apply the better.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Early Applications Are Best—But You Don’t Have to Commit

When to apply is a tough question. Early decision is best if a student is firm in their choice and financial concerns are not an issue. But if there is any uncertainty then regular decision, early action, or rolling are all appropriate options. Indeed, unless a strong senior performance might turn the tide, the earlier one can apply the better. Such an approach garners valuable timely feedback about how the application is being viewed in this particular cycle. Too, there is nothing like having a “home” even if it is not the top choice. In general, early is better.

Renee Boone
The College Advisor

Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

Students should apply early in the application period. Apply Early Decision if the college is your first choice, if you are a solid candidate when compared to prior year's freshman profile and if you do not have to consider a financial aid award. Apply Early Action whenever possible, especially if you are a solid candidate. You will appreciate hearing from colleges by mid-December. If you are accepted to your top choice(s), hooray! If not, you have time to mourn the loss and move on to your other choices. If applying to Rolling Admission colleges, apply early in the cycle to avoid being locked out because they are full rather than based on your qualifications. When applying Regular Decision, apply early in the cycle so as to avoid the rush to meet deadlines. By applying early in the cycle, students get the benefit of "fresh" admission committees who have not yet been burned out by uninspired essays and lackluster presentations. These applicants leave the impression that they are ready, willing and able to submit their applications and that they are eager for a response. Early responses give families time to plan Winter and Spring visits and allow students to enjoy senior year without the stress of college applications.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

ED for some, & Early Action is recommended in most cases, but many schools have Rolling where you find out much quicker; avoid regular like the plague, unless there's no other option. The early applicant gets the ticket the quickest!

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

This totally depends. At some schools the admissions rate is higher during early admission seasons and at others it is exactly the same as during regular admission. If your top choice school admits a larger percentage of students early and you are not concerned about comparing financial aid awards with other schools, I would probably encourage a student to apply early. It is important to understand the differences between ED, EA, and single choice EA and to discuss your strategy with an advisor.

Chris Powers
College Counselor and Philosophy Teacher Powers College Counseling

Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

It all depends on your credentials, the selectivity of a school, and your ambitions. I am ready to talk about this crucial decision.

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

Early, rolling, regular: When should you apply?

If the school has rolling admissions, you generally would be best off applying as early as possible. If you expect to show significantly improved grades or test scores from early in your senior year, you may need to hold off. There are two types of early admission. -- Early action is not usually binding. Generally, it is to your advantage to apply early and you will hear sooner whether you have been accepted. -- Early decision is usually binding. You should only apply early decision if you are sure what your number one school is, if you can commit to the school without knowing what your financial aid package will be, and if you don't want to compare financial aid packages from other schools. If you are not applying rolling or early, you will be applying regular decision.