Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision: What is Right For You?

Are you a high school student about to embark on the exciting journey of college applications? Do you find yourself torn between the options of Early Decision and Early Action? We understand that choosing the right application strategy can be a daunting task, but fear not! Our webinar, “Early Decision vs. Early Action: Which is Right for You?” is here to guide you through this crucial decision-making process.

Join our admissions expert, Joanne Gueverra-Pluff for an insightful and interactive webinar designed specifically for high school students applying to college and their families. She will explore the key differences between Early Decision and Early Action, providing you with the knowledge and tools necessary to make an informed choice that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

During this webinar, you will:

1. Gain a comprehensive understanding of Early Decision and Early Action: What do they mean? How do they differ? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each?

2. Explore the potential impact of your application strategy on your chances of admission and financial aid.

3. Receive expert advice on navigating the complexities of binding vs. non-binding options and understanding their implications.

4. Engage in a live Q&A session to address your specific questions and concerns directly with our panel of experts.

Whether you’re eager to demonstrate your commitment to a dream school or seeking more flexibility in your college choices, this webinar will empower you to make an informed decision that suits your unique circumstances. Join us to gain valuable insights and expert guidance that will shape your college application strategy and set you on the path to success.

Don’t miss this opportunity to unravel the mysteries of Early Decision and Early Action! Register now for the “Early Decision vs. Early Action: Which is Right for You?” webinar and embark on your college application journey with confidence.

Date 08/16/2023
Duration 1:01:00

Webinar Transcription

2023-08-16 – Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision: What’s Right For You?

Hi everyone. My name is Juliana Furigay, and I’m your webinar moderator today. Welcome to “Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision: What’s Right for You.” So to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live q and a on the sidebar.

You can download our slides and you can also start submitting questions in the q and a tab right now. Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone, my name is Joanne Pluff. I am a administrator at Howard University here in Washington c and my former life I was an admissions officer at both Utica College and Hamilton College, both situated in New York.

I have over 13 years of experience within enrollment management and I’m excited to chat with you all about, uh, different types of decisions for applications.

Alright, so, alright, so at this point it’s time for a poll for all of you guys. Um, so what grade are you in? And I guess in the meantime, Joanne, I would love to ask you, you know, what are some of the most important admissions factors, um, at your schools that you’ve represented? Uh, the most important admissions factors.

Um, so I’ve worked at mostly liberal arts universities, so for me, um, it’s just looking at students who are okay and are excited about that broad-based learning. So obviously your upper class engineers, you know, saw junior and senior years dedicated to a specific major, but for many of the universities I work at and for, it was really about finding curious people who were interested in philosophy and English and how they intersected with business, for example, or management.

Um, so I’m a huge proponent of liberal arts. I think the general core is very, very important to every student’s education. Um, and this is not a dig at any of the highly specialized, like for example, in Allied health school or engineering. That’s not it at all. Um, I just really think that students with that broad-based learning, um, have the ability to do critical thinking at a different level.

So it’s just something that I’m truly passionate about and really do firmly believe in. Mm-hmm. Yes, I definitely agree with that. As a graduate of a liberal arts college, that’s definitely the core there. Um, so I guess in terms of our poll results, it looks like the majority of our attendees tonight are seniors at 58%.

Um, 2% are freshmen, uh, 7% are sophomores and 28% are juniors. Um, so I’m closing that poll right now and heading back to the presentation. Awesome. So that’s awesome to hear that We have some seniors in the mix. It’s, uh, definitely time to be kind of. Figuring out and considering the types of applications that you’ll be applying to.

For most schools, the common applications should be open now, if not now, then they’ll open, um, early September so students can begin kind of filling all of that stuff out. Um, the great part about the common application, if you’re applying to schools that utilize that is fortunately you can start working on the application profile if you haven’t already.

So even for juniors and first year students or freshmen in, in high school, um, it’s not too late to start, but it’s definitely a, a useful tool. Um, I remember when I was applying to college, I only used the common application just so that I can perfect one application. So for students who are applying to schools that perhaps have an additional app, um, not to worry.

You can definitely, um, still, you know, showcase your, your needs in a different kind of way. So to the seniors, I wish you all well. Um, I’m happy to chat and send me any questions. Um, I would send ’em directly, Juliana, or the general chat ’cause it’s hard for me to maintain as the moderator as well. So let’s go ahead and get started.

Um, the main admissions deadlines, um, it’s something that students obviously should be thinking about and what are they due? So deadlines are going to be specific to each individual school usually. Um, a general rule is, like I said, the application opens now and usually the submissions are due. They start becoming, um, vastly due around Thanksgiving, heading to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, uh, there are schools of course that have just, uh, application deadlines in February and or early March, but for the, typically there is usually an application submission date for the beginning of, um, November.

There’s definitely an exception to every school as well as, um, every circumstance. So students who are applying to Auburn, Florida State, definitely check those application deadlines. I was working with a student last year who was applying to Auburn. Come to find out that deadline was, uh, September 15th, which was exciting, but also quite stressful.

So if you’re applying there and the deadline is the same, that would mean that you have exactly less than one month to be submitting that application. Um, what I recommend to the students that I assist and work with is to create a massive spreadsheet. Go through and list every individual college, their application deadline and the type of admission.

And then you can go ahead, um, and add any additional facts that you might want to. On this list might be, um, the amount of scholarships that are available, the percentage, the student to faculty ratio. It could be the student population, whatever that spreadsheet or points of information that are important to you.

You can list that right on the spreadsheet, but of course, um, making sure that the deadline would be one of the first things for you to look at with your family. So when you are taking, thinking about this process, um, there are definitely different types of applications. So, um, sorry, my computer just said it was going to restart.

Hopefully it doesn’t do that. Um, So there are different types of applications. So we do have early action versus, um, single choice early action. So for those of you who don’t know, um, early action is an opportunity to apply early. So with any early action application, you get prior notification. So submitting an application does give you additional time.

Now, we also have single choice early action, which is the opportunity for students to apply to one school, um, early action, but it’s not binding, right? So early action versus early decision means early decision students are applying to a school that they know that they will get into. Um, and they’re confident they’ll get into, and if they are admitted to that school, it means that they will attend that school.

I recommend early decisions for students who are a hundred percent sure. They’ve said, you know, such and such state university is my jam. It’s where I want to be. But the biggest factor of that is it’s binding. So this is a pretty strict contract that requires your guidance counselor, your parents to sign, as well as your signature.

And with that, um, it’s pretty serious. So if you are admitted to a school early decision, you must attend. Um, the only way to get out of that would be a financial risk factor. Not every school is as lenient. Not every school has these rules, but if you apply early decision, it means you do have to attend.

Um, and then of course now we have early action. So my favorite type of application to recommend for students is early action. So it’s non-binding. Um, once it’s not single choice, and students can apply to as many schools as they want to. Typically here at CollegeAdvisor, we recommend students applying to, um, 10 or less schools, like eight to 10 is kind of that sweet spot.

So again, with an early action application, it’s prior notification and you typically know, um, by January whether or not you’ve been admitted. Then of course there is, if you haven’t heard of it, restricted early action versus ed restricted early action allows you to apply to one school early, um, action and it’s non-binding again.

So that’s kind of the key. With early action, it’s that non-binding option, but it does have some specifications within that process. Ed, of course, you can only apply early decision to one school. Common app will not let you apply to other schools. You should not be doing a, you know, a single, uh, a school application and a common application in two different, um, entities.

If you apply ed, you must go to that school and you can only apply, um, to that one school. And if people find out, um, it’s not a great super, it’s not a good situation. So I recommend thinking about that. But again, my favorite type of application definitely is early action, just simply because it allows the students to really take a look at, um, all of the decisions earlier.

I am typically a planner, so I really like to know what’s going on. Um, when I was applying to college, I only applied early action because again, I just needed to know. Um, I wanted to go into January knowing that I had a place to be for the fall. So does applying early action affect, um, a student’s chances of being accepted?

I would say absolutely. So it’s increased chance for the admission of those highly selective schools. So first of all, it’s a smaller applicant pool with early decision. Not every student is applying early decision, and it’s also the number one indicator, um, for that school is if they assess demonstrated interest.

So demonstrated interest is, um, an opportunity for the schools to evaluate whether or not you are truly interested in them. So we send out all sorts of, you know, mailings. There are phone calls, there are text messages, there are emails. So if you are reading those emails or you’re responding to text messages, if you’re going to, um, Any of their visits.

If you’re doing virtual sessions, that is a way of showing your interest. But the number one indicator is, um, early decision because it means you’re signed, sealed, and delivered. So you’re super, super interested in applying and being a part of that school community. The smaller applicant pool is also a definitely a huge plus, so typically students do not apply early decision.

Um, and the reason being, it is a tough choice for, you know, a 17, 18 year old. I always joke with my family that my livelihood rests on the shoulders of students between the age of 18 and 22. So it’s a hard livelihood. Um, however, it’s a fun one, but I think back to myself, um, the reason I didn’t apply early action or early decision was because I just, I didn’t know where I wanted to go and I didn’t know what I was looking for.

So while I had narrowed down those schools, I loved them all. So applying early decision for me was not the best option because I kind of had my eggs in different baskets. But if you are a student that has decided, you know, you’re gonna be there, um, we highly recommend early decision because again, it is the highest indicator for that school to know if you’re truly interested.

And if there are pros, I would say again, highest indicator. Um, the, uh, the other thing like I was talking about, you know, prior to the close of the year, so typically those early decision decisions will roll out at some point around your holiday break in December, and it allows you to secure a spot in a high demand major.

So I was chatting a little bit about like, perhaps engineering or maybe it’s biology. Um, you know, each school may have a very selective major, so you will know, and you have a place in that class sooner than the rest of the students if you’re applying early decision.

All right. Looks like we’ve got a poll. Alright, so at this point it is time to do a poll. So where are you all in the application process? Um, and I guess in the meantime, Joanne, if you, um, are interested in answering for our seniors in the room, what would you recommend they be doing right now in terms of college applications?

So the seniors in the room, um, my biggest recommendation is creating that spreadsheet, right? So you should go to senior year prepared to talk to your guidance counselor or you know, college counselor, whoever it is. Whoever is helping you in that process, you gotta know. So if you have a list of 20 schools, you need to whittle it down to minimum of six or seven, no more than 10 or 12 because that is too much for any student.

Um, and you have to check out the deadlines. They are quickly looming. I think I blinked and now it is almost September, so the deadlines are for sure coming up. Yes, that is definitely true and very helpful for our students here. Um, so in terms of where our students are at, 11% have not started yet. 39% are researching schools, 29% are working on their essays.

17% are getting their application materials together and 4% are actually almost done with the process. Um, so closing that poll and handing it back to you, Joanne, absolutely don’t mind me. I think my computer’s gonna restart, so I’m gonna restart my other computer on my lap here. Um, but as I’m doing that, we can talk about the cons of early decision.

So of course the biggest con would be, um, that this is a binding with the one exception being, um, financial. So if. As you’re going through this process, you should know that every college has what’s called the net price calculator. So the net price calculator allows students and families to, if you have a decent idea of your family’s income as well as your student’s G p A, you can go on and peruse, um, the school to see what a financial aid package would look like for you.

So with that, you can actually see wholeheartedly what you would be paying for school. So, again, this is a huge recommendation. Go on and do the net price calculator prior to applying early decisions so that you know the only way that you can get out of an early decision contract again, is if your family cannot physically afford it.

The other con is you can only apply to one school early decision. Naturally that does make it a little bit harder. And of course, you’re obligated to attend. So let’s say perhaps you go to their admitted student program and you know, you take a look at the housing selections and you’re not interested, you would still, again, have to truly attend that school.

The other thing that is not on your side would be time. So looking at, um, the process, of course, it’s a little bit more in the blender. So like I was saying, most of the early action, early decision deadlines are for, um, October-ish, end of October, beginning of November. So that gives you, from right now about two and a half months to really get that application solidified.

And then of course, if the school does require the SATs or acts, you will only be able to take that test a few times. So there are some cons, absolutely. But again, um, there are just some pros. Um, If you’re still taking, taking any, uh, any of that into consideration. So then what would be the cons or the pros of early action?

This is a non-binding contract, so you can apply the heck out of any different school or as many schools as you want to, um, for early action. And the early notification of acceptance, or a Nile, to me, allows you to have like a backup plan. So if Plan A doesn’t work, Well, that’s all right. Plan B, um, you can put into effect because you know, there’s also a higher acceptance rate for early action as well, because again, you’re applying with a bigger pool of students, or I’m sorry, the smaller pool of students.

So you’re getting the, the admissions officers, fresh, rosy eyed, um, and you’re in that first crop of students going through the process. And to me, I would truly say that there is less stress because it’s not binding and it gives you a little bit more time. Additionally, it means that you can submit your applications before, um, that new year so you can roll in 2024, kind of having, um, a strategy for the decisions when they come out.

Another huge pro is the extra prep time, and then of course, um, just more time to reassess.

All right. So what are the cons of applying early? Honestly, I don’t know that there are any. Um, I truly believe that every student should apply early action, and they should. If, if you’re not a planner like me, which is fine, um, you should do at least one or two schools, we will push you to do so. Um, it’s important.

We firmly believe that this allows students to really, really make some decisions on where they will be in the fall. Alright, let’s see here.

So some pros of applying, um, regular decisions. So again, it’s just about time, um, and timing. And I know for some of the student athletes that are in the bunch, if you are an athlete, it may be that you need time to see, you know, will you have a spot on that team? Um, will they be able to see your senior year?

So it does give you the, the athletic population, a little bit of an upper hand. If you are maybe test shy and testing is a problem, um, or something that you have struggled with, it will allow you to retake and take SATs or acts quite a few times. I mean, we recommend not taking it more than three or four, um, but.

It will give you the opportunity to take testing again. And then the ability to do research and career exploration within those schools and universities is always excellent. So any kind of research you can do prior to all of your applications, it’s helpful. You wanna go in there knowing, um, kind of what you’re signing up for, and then the cons of regular decision.

Um, I would say one con is definitely you. You will, um, you’ll get a later notification. So with a lot of these early decision, um, I’m sorry, regular decision schools, the notification truly is around, um, the college spring break or the, the end of, um, March. So with that later notification, national College, um, deadline is May 1st.

So that only gives you about a couple of months to prepare for when you’re going to be moving in. And then of course, with the shorter timeline, um, that means if you are a person that you know isn’t great with goodbyes, then you won’t have as much time to prepare to move into college, which is okay. Um, then how can students figure out if the best course of action is, is for them?

Truly, it’s talking with your family. Um, the, the point about early action, early decision is, you know, the reason it’s binding early decision is. It affects your entire family. College is definitely a family choice. So while we encourage the students to fly their wings and do what they need to, you have to make sure that your parents are okay with all of this.

Um, obviously talk about, you know, how you fall into that student profile with testing. The, every university has a testing profile. They should be coming up. Um, Let me see what’s today. Yeah, so all of these should be coming up to you within the next couple of weeks. So if you’re ever interested in seeing how you fall in academically, you can, um, go to the college profile and it will profile the class of the year before you.

So we are in the process of, um, putting up the class of 2023 or incoming 2023, and it will tell you where you fall within that process. Um, the reason we mention it is because you want to make sure that you’re applying to schools that not only are appropriate for you, but that you will be able to get into.

And super quickly, Juliana, I’m just gonna switch to my other computer so that I don’t disappear.

Yes. Joanne will be rejoining in a second. Okay, perfect. Um, and then of course, for the student athletes that are in the population, like I said, athletic recruitment is big, right? So I wanted to play a sport when I was in college. I probably shouldn’t say, but it was probably the number one factor. Um, the reason I ended up applying early is I was a fall sport, so I wanted to see what was going on, um, on the team that fall, and I wanted to make sure that I was gonna play.

So with athletic recruitment, you may need a little bit of more time to kind of figure out what’s up from down, and again, who’s gonna be on the team.

All right. So the best advice, um, that I would say for students deciding between early action and, and regular applications is, first, it doesn’t matter what direction you do. The thing that we see with our students that are most successful is that students that are organized, so again, the power of the, the Excel sheet or however you’re keeping track is super important because you wanna make sure that you have all the information and you’re not gonna.

Miss a deadline. I just recommend doing at least one school early action. I think it’s a quick win, especially if it’s a safety school or a target school safety being a school that you know that you’ll be admitted to target being a school that you are dead on the right applicant for that school. Um, applying early action also gives you the opportunity to take, uh, finances in con into consideration.

So with some schools, there are scholarship deadlines that are sooner rather than later. And, um, again, our pose to students that are applying in those earlier rounds, we definitely feel as though early action can benefit a student for students who need more time to come up with funding. If you are a student that perhaps you’re a twin and your parents have to decide, you know, how we’re gonna pay for this, those are definitely things you want to consider.

All right, so that is the end of the presentation, part of the webinar. Um, I hope you all found this information to be helpful and also remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab. So we’re gonna move on to the live q and A here. So I’m gonna read through the questions that you submitted in the q and a tab and put them into the public chat so you all can see.

I’ll also read them out loud before our panelist here gives you an answer. So as a heads up, if your q and a tab isn’t allowing you to submit questions, just double check that you join the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. And the first question that we have here is from a student who is wondering, uh, can you apply to the same college during regular decision if you were rejected from that college during early action?

So you cannot, um, if you were rejected, that rejection will hold through to different application rounds. You’re, of course, welcome to apply as a transfer student, or maybe you take a gap year and you could reapply again. But once you get, um, a negative decision, you cannot. There are opportunities for students.

Some schools will defer. So if you apply early decision or early action, a school might defer you to regular decision. That just means they wanna see you in the bigger context of the entire, um, applicant pool. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a holdover, right? So if you’ve been deferred, it allows you to enhance your candidacy, whether it’s submitting an additional notes, doing an interview, um, reaching out to the school.

So there are ways to enhance your candidacy if you’ve been deferred. But once you are rejected, unfortunately you are, you will have to wait until next year or apply as a transfer student. Yes. Um, and so I know that we talked about how the early decision process is binding. We do have a student wondering here, what is the penalty of saying no or applying to other schools’ regular decision when you’ve already been accepted by your early decision college?

So first of all, I’m pretty sure the common app knows, um, and the universities talk to each other. So it’s just. It, it’s somewhat honor system. Um, I don’t recommend doing it because of the university you’ve been accepted to. They will not take that lightly. Um, it’s, it’s somewhat of an insult. So the reason, again, that we do the early decision contract is so that everybody’s on the same page.

This is very much common knowledge. You should not, your guidance counselor will be upset. Your parents should be upset. There’s no reason to apply to other schools. If you’ve been admitted regular, um, don’t you know if, again, finances are a major, they will release you from that contract if you can prove that.

But let’s not play those odds of gambling with that. Yes, definitely. And I do know some students who have gotten their original early decision acceptance rescinded as well as other colleges rescinded due to doing that. So definitely, yep. Steer clear from, from advocating for that. Um, we have a student here who’s wondering if there are any specificities that should be noted by an international student in, um, choosing early decision, early action versus regular decision.

No, I think this is one of those things that actually sets the playing field evenly for both, um, domestic and international students. There’s no difference. Um, there’s no preference. Again, it’s a personal choice. Do what’s best for you. If you, again, if you found your school, you love it, go to it. Do it. If you can afford it, if not early action’s, your best bet and you wanna go that route, go for it.

Nobody’s gonna, it doesn’t matter for domestic versus international in that’s, um, in that right. Mm-hmm. Definitely. And is there a difference between early decision round one and early decision round two for schools? For example, N Y U has two different rounds of ed, so do students who apply during that first round have an advantage to the second round of ED versus regular decision, et cetera?

I don’t think that there’s an advantage. I think it’s just about a timing thing for the universities. ED one and 82, again, they hold the same merit. Really love these schools. Um, and sometimes ED two is helpful. So let’s say you applied at to Stanford, um, ed one and, and you’re rejected, but you also really love Columbia.

You can now go to do Columbia Ed two. So there really is no difference. Um, it’s the same weight, it’s the same excitement, um, the same binding contract. So yeah, and I will also say if a student is deferred from, uh, early decision, one or two to regular decision, the binding contract no longer applies. So once you’re not admitted in the early decision round, it, it goes out the window.

So you’re entitled to do whatever you please. Great. And a student has heard somewhere, so they’re wondering if this is true, that, um, the regular application process has a higher chance of getting a better financial aid package as opposed to an early action or early decision application. Oh, I don’t believe that to be true at all.

Um, and each school is very different. Um, they’re not gonna publish and tell you, you know, which round will give you more money. I think we try to be pretty equitable throughout the entire process, but there’s that, that I don’t believe that that statement has any merit. Yes. Um, and the student is wondering how do you know if you’re applying for early action or early decision?

So where is that noted? Great question. So, when you’re submitting your applications on the Common app, um, or any college application, it allows you to indicate the, the type of application. So when you do your profile, you select the school, you know, you’ll get past your extracurriculars of information about your demographic.

As well as your essay, it’ll bring you to like your supplements, and then at the end, it allows you to select the type of application that you want to push forward. So you’ll definitely know. And again, before you hit that submit button for early decision, a note goes to your guidance counselor, and then your parents have to co-sign for it.

If you have a student that’s wondering if you could clarify what the restrictive early action process means. So does this mean that you can only apply to one school or just one school early or, and how is that different from um, the other? Yeah, so let me go back to the slide just so everyone can see it.

So there’s single choice early action, which means you can apply to one school early action. It’s not binding, but you can only apply to one school. Then there’s restrictive, which means it’s not binding. However, again, you can only apply to one choice. I kind of believe that restrictive and single choice are the same deal because you can only apply to one.

Um, but basically it’s an early action choice that confines you to that decision until the decision has been rendered.

Great. Thanks for clarifying that for us. Um, the next question that we have here is, um, what can we do if, you know, a student gets accepted early decision, accept the offer actually expects a lot more money than that expected family contribution calculator. So I know that you spoke on this earlier, but kind of what are the specificities of finances?

Yeah, so there’s a couple things you can do. Um, sometimes the schools will work with you. Every school is vastly different. I will tell you at Howard, um, if you are a student that falls within that category, you need to call financial aid as soon as possible and they can talk to you about, you know, perhaps the FAFSA or c s s profile that you filled out is missing something.

Or, you know, maybe there’s loss of wages. They’ll walk you through that. If at the end of all these conversations, the cost is too great for your family, they will release you from your early decision contract.

And so for our student athletes in here, so is there, um, something that some, is there something specific for student athletes where they can’t go through the early decision process or there are still recruiting events during winter and spring of senior year? So how should they approach the application process?

In general? Every sport is gonna be very different. Um, so I didn’t allow coaches to drive my decisions on how I was applying because I’m sure that you’re getting a lot of, you’re getting bombarded from all the schools that you’re being recruited. They all want you to come, they all want you to play and, you know, there’s no guarantee.

So that, for me, was the biggest thing because I knew there was no guarantee. I wanted to make the best financial choice for my family and the best choice for me. So I wanted to have all of the information before I could make that decision. So yes, there can be recruitment events, um, That are late, which is again, why early action for athletes, if not early decision is a great option.

You might be able to attend the school, you know, go to that recruitment event in late January, meet with the team and make a better decision. But you’ll have your decision by then. So, If you are applying early decision, again, it means that you love that school. Perhaps that school has promised you all some scholarship dollars, um, which is fine, but I think for the athletic population there, that is a personal decision that you need to make.

So if you know, and you have signed something that says, I’m going to get this because my G P A is this, and you have not falsified, you know, your G P A or your S A T A C T, then the coaches will be honest with you and don’t feel bad about having an honest conversation or having someone in your family have an honest conversation with the coaching staff.

There is no reason to feel pressure. Um, and if you’re feeling that internal pressure or external pressure from them, I would take a step back and evaluate if that’s really a place you wanna be.

Uh, so within early action, is it better to get your application in earlier? So for example, does it make a difference whether you submit your application right now versus right before the early action? Mm-hmm. So, um, I always kind of go with Murphy’s Law. Um, I don’t wait to, I tell my students not to wait, right?

So usually it’s like, Midnight or 1159 on October 31st of the application is you don’t do that, please. Like, but this be the disclaimer, do not do that. If you have finished your application and you just need help pushing the button, call a friend and let them help you push that button so that on that day you don’t have to worry about it.

Nobody likely will read your application until all the different parts come through as well as the rest of the applicants. But if you’re done and you feel good about it, send it in, send that puppy in so that you’re not waiting and running home from school to do it. Um, there’s no reason to wait if you feel like you’ve perfected your application.

Uh, so I know earlier, Joanne, you touched on how early action or early decision can increase your percentage of admissions. So the student is wondering like, by how much, by what percent can it increase your percentage of admissions? And does that vary between EA and ed? So not only does it vary between EA and ed, it also varies from school to school.

So, you know, however, we received over 36,000 applications. Um, we admitted I believe 4% from our early action, early decision population last year. That number was different. So what you can do is reach out to the schools. They’ll tell you, um, they may not give you an exact percentage, but they’ll give you an idea of how much of the incoming class is admitted from E A E D.

Uh, the next question that we have here is in regard to when a student hasn’t had the opportunity to visit any colleges in person. So would you say that it’s still advisable to apply Ed or ea or should they just wait until regular decision? That’s a great question. Um, I think one of the best things of the pandemic is it has forced universities and, you know, colleges to, to pivot and cater to students who don’t have the money to fly across the country or, you know, get in the car.

Or maybe your parents are just busy or maybe you’re kind of manning this process and you don’t have someone who’s helping you. So the reality is not every student has that. And I really appreciate this question because many colleges have adapted and put forth virtual visits and opportunities. Every college has a virtual visit, and if they don’t, I mean, It’s shocking at this point.

So I highly recommend doing the virtual visits. And the great thing about most of these and many of these websites is it’s, it has forced us to make sure that the students know who to contact. And additionally, one of your greatest resources on a college campus is your student tour guide or student ambassadors.

So if you can get a hold of a student who is a current student there, um, both an ambassador or perhaps someone within the program, I highly recommend reaching out. That’s not a tall ask for an admissions office. It’s something that they do on the daily basis. So even though you haven’t visited, you can do some of those visits to feel like you are truly there.

Additionally, I know this is crazy to say, but. YouTube does provide, um, students a great platform. So there are many students who have, like, this is, you know, my residence hall and they’re not an official university, um, affiliated student. They’re just a student that goes to the university who loves to show off different parts.

So I recommend also taking looks at YouTube. I know almost every single Cal State, um, residence hall is on there for, uh, residence hall tour. So there are ways to get, um, and fall in love with universities even if you can’t step foot there. Now, I will say, um, early decision obviously is that finding contract.

I’m so sorry, I have a six year old, um, is that binding contract. So definitely think about it. But there are ways for you to know if this place is for you without actually visiting.

Uh, the next question that we have here is in regard to the possibility of being deferred. So what happens if I’m deferred in the EA or ED round and how should I approach my application going forward? Can I change aspects of my application? So, that is a good question. So if you were deferred to E A E D, it means that they will read you in the context of the regular decision pool.

Can you change parts of your application? No, but you are, I would say unofficially welcome to submit additional pieces. So, That’s a great opportunity. If you are applying, if your regular decision, it means you’ll have two terms of co um, high school down from your senior year. So I recommend working hard, right?

So you have to finish out strong. Those mid-year grades are gonna be very, very important. So making sure that there are as mostly ass some B’s and definitely not the C’s or D’s or F’s on that transcript. Um, additionally you will be assigned an admissions officer so you can declare your intentions to that admissions officer.

Now, I do not recommend calling them every day. That is very annoying, but you can send them a note and just explain to them why you really and truly feel as though you would be a good applicant for the school. Your guidance counselor can also submit an additional letter on your behalf. Um, And it just doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just something simply saying what you’re up to at this point.

If you, maybe, you know, were now president of the Student Body Students Council. You won a championship for a sport. There was some leadership you could report on that wasn’t on your application, that would be the time to do it. Um, if they had supplemental application or supplemental essays, typically they won’t accept those.

So I highly recommend doing the supplemental essays as you see them when you’re moving through the process. Do not wait to do them. Um, it does not help. So just complete that application. And enhancing would be just a note from your guidance counselor. Those great A’s and B’s if possible. No C’s and D’s.

Um, if you have an opportunity to retake the SATs or acts, or maybe there are AP scores you could submit, those are ways that you can enhance your application.

Thank you. Um, so we have a student here that’s wondering for like art schools or art portfolio submissions, how does early action or early decision affect those submissions? For example, at SS C A D, you can submit an application and then submit your portfolio later. So if you could go into a little more detail there.

Yeah. Um, with scad, um, and most of the conservatories and schools that are like fine arts, even N Y U. So yes, they have a different timeline for submitting those portfolios, but it’s not something that I would say you can wait on. I would say you should start preparing now many of those schools. Um, like we have our portfolio submission right up on the website.

So I would begin gathering those, um, items and just take it by two parts. So you have a two-part application, right? You have the full paper application like every other human being, and then you also have the portfolio. So tackle whichever one you feel, you know, tickles your fancy. So if you wanna get the application out of the way because you’ve already done it and you’ve written your essay, go ahead and submit it.

And then you can take your time kind of curating your portfolio, um, and picking out the best representations of your art. So you can do it in two part. And again, it doesn’t matter if one comes before the other, you just make sure you’re at the deadlines for both. Great, thank you. Um, so at this point in the webinar, I actually wanted to include a little plug here for CollegeAdvisor.

Um, so here at CollegeAdvisor, we have a team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts who are ready to help you and your family navigate the college admissions process and one-on-one advising sessions. So we have already helped over 6,000 clients in their college journeys, and after analyzing our data since 2021, we have found that our students are 3.6 times more likely to get into Stanford.

4.1 times more likely to get into Vanderbilt, and 2.7 times more likely to get into Harvard. So you can increase your odds and take the next step in your college admissions journey by signing up for a free 45 to 60 minute strategy session with an admission specialist on our team. Uh, so you can just scan the QR code here using your phone.

So during this meeting, we’ll be able to review your current extracurricular list and application strategy, um, discuss how they align with your college list and outline the tools that you need to stand out in this competitive admissions world. Um, and I also see that some of you guys have some pretty specific questions here in the q and a.

Um, so I would definitely suggest that you sign up for a one-on-one advising session and redirect those questions there. Um, so moving back, yes. Do you wanna add anything? Just one more. Yep. I think a student is asking if all of the sessions are, if our sessions are free, they’re not free, but there are different, um, client packages, which they’ll talk with you about in your one free session.

Yes, definitely. Thank you Joanne. Um, so I guess moving back to the regular q and a here, um, we have a student here that’s wondering how does it work if I get accepted in early decision, but I want to defer for a year or two, so just gap years, if you could detail that. So typically the gap year, um, process is for one year.

Um, school, I’ve not really seen a lot of schools doing two year gap years unless it’s something like very out of the ordinary. I think I, I once had a, a student who was training for the Olympics, so she needed a year and a half, right? So that made sense based on, um, she was a, a speed skater, so that made sense based on what she was doing.

But typically, once you are admitted, um, you do have to. Uh, it’s usually a request form that you submit to the dean of admissions or director of admissions for the deferment. Um, and then they will let you know whether or not it’s been granted. If you do not or not granted the deferment, then unfortunately you would need to speak with them about how that’s gonna work.

Again, early decision is binding, so if you apply, it means likely they will want you in their seats that coming fall. Great. And I know you talked a little bit about athletes and international students before. Mm-hmm. We have a student wondering, do international student athletes go through a more complex process to get athletic scholarships, and is there a reduced chance of receiving these athletic scholarships?

Nope, there is, that’s the same process for, um, domestic students versus, um, international. That’s, again, one of those things that the playing field is pretty level. Um, I know just some of the bigger differences is the sports are in different seasons. So if you are a student who is looking to be recruited, I would recommend, um, getting together your film, you should be already talking to coaches if it’s something pretty serious.

So make sure that you’ve collected your film that, um, portrays you in the best light and that you get your, you know, your puddle profile or whatever it is you’re using. Um, you’ll wanna have that ready to go. Yes. An on a similar note, we have another student that’s wondering here, does applying in the early rounds affect your chances of receiving financial aid for international students specifically, or is that kind of the same, um, thing that you said earlier?

So that’s gonna be a school to school. Um, Determination. Some schools have a pot of money that is dedicated to international students. Some treat them like domestic students, some, you know, may not give aid at all. So that is really gonna be based on each individual institution. I, uh, thank you. And we did talk about college visits a bit earlier, and the student is just wondering, what advice do you have on planning for a campus visit during this busy application season?

Yeah, so I love a good fall college visit. Um, I recommend students going to each university twice. So if you can get there in the fall and then you’re admitted, you should definitely make that round trip visit in the spring if it’s something that you’re seriously considering. Um, my favorite thing is to, I oddly, this is a very weird habit, but I love touring college campuses, so, um, I love talking to students that are not within the office of admission.

So obviously we train the best of the best and they have the best answers. And, you know, they are student leaders. They have internships, they’ve done amazing things, but you kind of wanna talk to a student who isn’t an ambassador too. So go to the library, grab a cup of coffee, sit and talk with students.

Um, if you can sit in on a class, do that. Um, not every school has, you know, comprehensive visits where you can speak to a student, go to a class, speak to a professor, so just understand that they’re doing within what they can, um, what they can do. But the cool thing about the colleges is from fall and spring, there are students out and about and there are faculty out and about.

And 90% of the time, if you meet somebody on a college campus, they’re happy to talk to you. They’re gushing about their alma mater and what they really, really love about being there. So go with questions. Um, you know, one of the students I advised this past, um, season, she really wanted, um, a university with lots of libraries.

And I was like, Lily, you know, you don’t. You’re not like a library goer now. And she’s like, I know, but I’m, I am committed to doing this. So if like, libraries are your thing and, and this is what you wanna do, make sure that you find the universities that have that and check them out. Right? So like, I knew I wanted to play soccer, I wanted to see their athletic facilities.

I wanted to see that, those things. So whatever your lists of wants and needs and must haves are, make sure you see them on the visit and then don’t beat yourself up. Um, likely when you leave that campus, you’re gonna be like, oh, I should have asked this person this. Just get a card for somebody to contact.

Uh, so the next question that we have here is, if we apply early action and are accepted, how long do we have to give them a decision, uh, before the offer is taken off the table? So for example, the student wants to wait to compare financial aid packages before making a decision. This is early action, you said?

Yes. Yeah, so the national deposit deadline is May 1st. So every college across the country, we all have the same deadline. You gotta apply, um, or know where you’re going by May 1st. So whether it’s, you know, you’re waiting, you have not heard, May 1st is your day. That is the day you should roll into high school with your sweet sweatshirt from the place you’re gonna go to.

Um, and they’re, they’ll call, you know, they’ll put a little bit of pressure on you to make that choice, but you have until May 1st and don’t let anybody tell you that it’s sooner or later. Um, so the student is wondering, how do you know that you belong at a particular institution so strongly that you would opt for that early decision option?

This is a crazy answer that I’m gonna say, but you really truly know. Um, if you are applying early decision, my hope for you is that you’ve done your research, that you’ve spoken to people, you’ve spoken to alums, you’ve looked at their career outcomes, you’ve looked at their loan indebtedness, you’ve looked at financial aid packages, you should know.

Um, and if you haven’t been able to step foot on that campus, you should have done your online research to figure that out. College is one of those things where there’s billions of us, right? There are thousands of us across the country. There are some in other countries. There is one for every student.

And finding something that makes you just feel like, oh my gosh, like I really could be at this place. You will know, you truly will know. So whether it’s that they have a football team or. They have an ice cream, um, shop on campus like Penn State. It doesn’t matter to me what that is, but when you find it, you truly will know.

That’s gonna drive your parents nuts, that feeling, that vibe. So don’t worry, you’ll get past it. Um, we’re all in this journey together, but there is a school for everyone and you truly will know when you find it. And e equally, usually your parents kind of know too. Thank you. Um, the next question here, I know we spoke a bit about how the different, um, processes can affect financial aid, but the student is wondering about merit scholarship considerations.

So how does applying ed ea restrictive reaction, whatever, how does that affect merit scholarships? So merit scholarships will be different for each university. Some schools have a separate merit scholarship application as well as deadlines. So again, you make that spreadsheet, you gotta put all that information in.

I can talk about the schools that I worked at. Every university, every school that I worked at, every applicant was considered for merit scholarship. Not every student was given a merit scholarship, but as soon as you submitted after doing that review, um, we considered you for merit. So most schools, that’s typically the process.

Um, some there are additional scholarship essays that you’re required to do after submitting the deadline. For your original application, so just be on the lookout for that. But for most schools, they evaluate, um, merit based on your, um, incoming application. And is there a difference in application fees when you apply early versus regular?

Is that typically the same? It’s typically the same, but every school has a different application fee and some may not have one at all. Yes. Thank you. Uh, so the next question here is to what extent does your senior year matter, um, if you end up getting accepted to a school, early decision or early action?

Oh, yeah, it super matters. It matters a lot. Um, the thing is right, so we are admitting you based on the grades that we have. So by November, we have usually the first grades from your first quarter now, We request every university is required to put on file your final high school transcript, meaning we will see all of your grades.

Therefore, and this has happened to me countless amounts of times, I had assumed he got all F’s was admitted early decision. He did not come, we released him because he didn’t do the work and finish out the way he was supposed to. We admitted him based on that, you know, 4.0 g p a and by the end of senior year it was not a 4.0 g p a.

So you do have to finish out. You should not take fluff classes. You should make sure that you’re taking some classes that carry some weight. They don’t have to be aps, they don’t have to all be, you know, science courses. But you do need to take a full course load, um, of realistic classes because at the end of the day, what you’re doing in high school is preparing you for college.

So if you’re not able to finish out in high school, what’s the guarantee that you’ll finish in college?

Definitely. Um, so the next question here we have from a student that’s wondering if I’m not entirely sure about my top choice, um, should I still apply early decision just to increase my chances of getting into a school? Um, or should I just explore regular decision? I would explore regular. If you’re truly kind of juggling between a couple of things, there’s no reason to put that undue pressure I would hate for the day to come.

You’re admitted and you hate it. There’s nothing worse than that. It’s a terrible feeling. It’s a terrible tale. So don’t set yourself up for that. If you truly don’t have your heart in it, do not apply early decision. Um, so we have a student here that’s wondering about the net price calculator. Um, so when filling up the net price calculator, there is an estimated expected financial aid amount.

So is that a guaranteed aid amount at the minimum or what’s, what’s guaranteed there? It’s not a guaranteed amount, it’s just giving you an idea. And what I will recommend is filling out the net price calculator, then call and talk to financial aid about it. Um, throughout this entire process, even though you don’t go there, they will talk to you about their financial aid process, how it works, what scholarships are available, um, if there are loan options.

So yes, the net price calculator is helpful, but it’s not set in stone. So it just gives you a general idea of what your family will pay to go to college. And if a student is deferred from their early decision school, are they still bound to, to that school, or can they apply to other schools during regular decision?

Nope. If you do not get admitted early decision, you are released from any kind of binding contracts.

And the student is wondering, um, is this process of early versus regular different for like Ivy Leagues, for example? So I know you talked about how it can improve your chances of applying early, but do some schools such as the Ivy Leagues approach this differently? Um, I wouldn’t say so in my personal experience.

Um, I will say that now that the SATs and Acts are optional for many of the IVs, there are thousands upon thousands of students applying both early action, early decision, regular. So I, if you’ll know if you are a good applicant for that school, we try to be pretty honest. Um, again, those, uh, profiles will really tell you a lot.

Just be honest with yourself. Right. So usually, again, in any of those schools, we’re looking at a solid 4.0, many AP scores, high SATs. If you have a 3.8. I’m not saying that you’re a bad student, I’m just saying that I’m not sure if you’ll be admitted there. So it doesn’t matter the round, it’s all about that applicant profile and looking at the class before you.

So would you recommend that a student choose, for example, like a target school to do early decision or early action four versus like a safety school versus a reach school? Yeah, I think definitely a target school for early decision. Um, the safety school, you know, most safeties, it’s kind of like I’ll go there if I have to, but I know that I’m, you know, gonna get in.

So it’s just in case anything would go awry. So I don’t recommend applying to a safety school ed, because you have to go there. Um, I would say targets and reaches for early decision would be I. My suggestion. And if you have no reaches, just so we’re clear, you don’t have to have reach schools, you can have all targets, but we just like to have fun and say, you know, shoot your shot.

Mm-hmm. Um, and I know that we talked about that May 1st deadline for decision. So just to clarify, so for early action, you also have until May 1st to decide. The student is wondering, um, so are they able to make that final decision after receiving their regular decision results? Yeah, absolutely.

Absolutely. It’s May 1st, you know, early decision, you gotta go. Usually you have to put your deposit in by mid January-ish. Um, ed two, it’s like the beginning of March. March, um, March. But early action, early decision. You will get a lot of pressure from the schools to make your decision soon, but you have until May 1st end of story.

Mm-hmm. And if, if a school is s a t or a c t optional, um, would including your. Would including your scores improve your chances of getting an early decision, is what the student is wondering. So it all would, I would say again, it just is if it fits within the profile. So if you have the scores of an average student who was admitted and you are at them or you have exceeded them, definitely submit them because it does enhance your application.

If they’re below, do not submit them. There is no reason to include them in the process. And I know that we talked about the different, you know, reach versus target versus safety schools. Um, the student is wondering, is there any website or tool that you can use, um, to evaluate whether a school is one of those for you?

So all of you probably at this point have college board. Um, Accounts because you’ve maybe taken acts, sat, AP scores, PS SATs. So you can use the college board search engine to kind of find schools. They’ll generate, um, schools that fit within your academic profile because they literally have that information.

So that’s usually where schools start sending you, um, mailers. So typically if you’re getting mail from a school, if you haven’t signed up for it yourself, then it’s because they feel as though you would fit, um, their profile. Great. Um, and I guess looking at the time now, we have time for one more question.

Um, so I guess I would love to know, is there any last piece of advice that you want to leave our audience with tonight? Could be in regards to early versus regular or just college applications in general. I would say just in general, um, it’s terrifying, right? So like this is one of the largest decisions you’ll make as a young person.

Um, but it’s also the most exciting thing that you’ll probably do in a while. And don’t be scared, right? So like this is one of those opportunities where you get to grow, you get to learn, you’re gonna meet lifelong friends. You could travel to Africa if you wanted to, and the opportunities are so close, they’re literally for some of you, just a year away.

So while it is terrifying that you have to make this choice, don’t be scared and remember that even if you falter or if things go awry, if you have planned. You’ll be able to pivot and make a decision that works best for you. So I know that it seems very daunting and overwhelming, but don’t be afraid.

Just go into it with your whole heart and your whole head, and make the decision that really does fit best for you and your family. Yes. That is great advice. Thank you so much Joanne. Um, and huge thank you as well to everyone for coming out tonight. Um, so that is the end of this webinar. We had a really great time tell telling you guys about early decision, early action and regular decision.

So here is our August series. Um, so tomorrow evening we have a Harvard, Yale in Princeton College panel. Um, on the 20th we have, um, AO advice understanding the common application, um, on the 21st. We have college essay mistakes when writing about yourself. Um, and that evening we also have applying pre-med choosing your major.

Um, so thank you so much again to everyone and hope you have a great rest of the evening.