Early Decision vs. Early Action: Which 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:
- 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?
- Explore the potential impact of your application strategy on your chances of admission and financial aid.
- Receive expert advice on navigating the complexities of binding vs. non-binding options and understanding their implications.
- 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.
2023-06-05 – Early Decision vs. Early Action/ Which is Right for You?
Hello everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisors webinar, “Early Decisions versus Early Action: Which is Right for You?” To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’re gonna first begin with a presentation, and then you’ll have the opportunity to ask your questions in a live question and answer. But before we get into the presentation portion, let’s first introduce our panelists.
Hi everyone. My name is Joanne Pluff. I am currently, I work at Howard University’s Associate Vice President for student Experience, but I have over 10 years admissions experience from Hamilton College and Utica College, both in Central New York. Nice. Okay, so let’s, before we get into the presentation, actually, let’s get a sense of what grade you are in.
So let us know. It’s never too early to start discussing early action versus early decision. And I know Joanne, Joanne, you can say like, this is the timeframe where most rising seniors are kind of starting to contemplate this, this question. Yep. So this is the exact time. So it’s, this is the perfect, timely conversation for the rising seniors who are wrapping up AP tests.
If you’re doing those or regents or other state testing this is the couple of weeks where you can do your research and get started on building your list to determine if you are applying to any college’s early action or early decision. So this is almost perfect. Awesome. Well, thank you. So with that, our poll results are in, and it looks like we have a variety of participants from every high school grade level with majority of our participants being in the 11th grade.
So 67%, which we are not surprised by. So with that, Joanne, I’ll turn it over to you to kick us off on our presentation. Yeah. Great. Thank you so much. So within the realm of admissions, I’m sure it’s quite overwhelming, but luckily for you, there’s so much information out there that students can garner and learn and families can utilize for their success throughout the season.
So I wanted to start off with giving you just some definitions of some different terms that you’ll hear throughout the application cycle. So early action versus single choice early action. So of course, early action is the non-binding application type where students are permitted to apply to as many as they want.
At here, CollegeAdvisor, we like to stick to a list of under 10. And of course this means early, not notifications. So typically those applications are due earlier in the year prior to Thanksgiving. And then typically you’ll hear back from those colleges some point in January or February. Then there’s single choice, early action, meaning you can apply to one school early action.
It’s not binding, but you do get early notification. So let’s say, you know, you’ve decided on a school, you really love it. You think that it might be the one, but you do have a little bit of hesitation. Single choice early action is a really good way of, of getting that decision sooner to help you.
To give you some extra time to make that decision, then you, there’s also restrictive early action. Which again, you can apply restrictive early action to one school. So with both single choice and restrictive, that is one school. And just like single choice, early action, restrictive early action is non-binding.
So again, for a student that really just wants to know, I. The limit is you can only apply to that one school, however it is prior notification. And then of course there is early decision, meaning you select a school you are in love with it, you live, eat, breathe, and wanna be there. This is the binding contract.
So if you are. Applying you can only apply to one school early decision. And if you get into that school, you have to attend that school regardless of anything. Typically, for students who are looking at those binding contracts, they’re, it does take a little bit to get out of them. So if you’re thinking about applying early action, early decision, make sure that you really do read through the fine print.
You typically will have to appeal to the dean or VP of admissions to see if they’ll allow you to be out of the. The binding contract. So when we’re thinking about any of the restrictive early action, early decision single choice, yes, it does actually affect your students’ chances of being accepted.
So with small or highly selective schools, they want to admit they’re the top students from their applicant pool in early action, early dec decision or restrictive or single choice. There’s a smaller applicant pool. For example, let’s say you’re applying to Harvard early decision, likely there’s probably only 30,000 applications instead of the near 90-200,000 applications that Harvard would get.
And this is early action. Early decision is one of the highest ways for students to share with the university demonstrated interests. So if the school that you’re applying to is selective and monitors demonstrated interests, early decision is the biggest way that you can share with the school that you’re interested.
It means you’ve done your research, your sign seal delivered and come hell or high water, they’re going to go to that school. So it’s one of the most helpful indicators to an admission officer when they’re reviewing your application.
So let’s just take a little bit and we can talk about the pros and cons of applying early decision. So, like I was saying, it’s the highest indicator of your demonstrated interest. And for those who don’t know, demonstrated interest is something that some schools do measure. So as much as you and your families are shopping around to pick the perfect school for you, schools are also looking at your applicant profile to find the perfect student to admit to their incoming first year class.
So when we look at demonstrated interests, It’s talking about have you done a campus tour? Have you signed up for virtual information session? Did you do an interview with an admissions officer? Were there supplemental essays that your univer, the university gave? Did you do them? So these are things that the schools will measure, typically, they say, or the theory is that if you do a lot of these b options and you check off these boxes, it means that you’re really interested in the school.
So, demonstrated interest when it comes to early action, early decision, it means that you’ve truly done your research. You want to be there, you can financially afford it, and it’s telling the school that, you know, if, if you give me the chance, I will be there. So with early action, early decision. Those students are high likely to enroll, especially those in the early action.
Category. The other great pro of applying early decision is typically, you know by the last couple weeks of December, whether or not you’ve been admitted. So typically those decisions will come out around Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza. So you’ll wrap up your, the, the winter of your junior or your senior year, knowing whether or not you’ve been admitted.
And then of course for school, if you’re applying to a highly selective major as well as school, it does give you early access to securing your spot in those high demand majors. So like at Howard one of our top majors is biology. We typically see most of our early action, early decision students applying to biology within those, within that application round.
And so of course on the other side of that is the discussion about the cons of early action and early decision. So this application is binding. If you’re a student that cannot make a decision or it takes you longer to come to a conclusion, this couldn’t be a little stressful, right? So my livelihood is, is made on the decision of 18 and 19 year old humans going to college. This is a very, very important decision. Therefore it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are really, truly not sure what you want to do or you’re choosing between a couple of universities, early decision may not be for you. It, it may not work out. And for a student that changes their mind, we don’t want you to be locked in there.
So you may be looking at early action. The other thing with early decision, of course, is you can only comply to one school. So if you have your heart set on two, this may not be the way for you to go. The obligation to attend is also pretty high. For students, again, who are possibly athletes, if you have a couple of majors, you don’t know what you wanna study, early decision may not be the path for you.
And then of course senior year is filled with tons of fun and amazing things to do. The application decision or submission timeline is a little bit more truncated. So typically the a the application for early action early decision is due around November 1st, but there are some outliers that may have application submission in September, October.
We’ve seen a couple in August. This also limits your time for taking the SAT and ACT. So typically your application needs to be complete and ready re to review with all of the application components. Therefore, if you’re not happy with your SAT score come September, you really don’t have a lot of time to take the test.
To make sure that you can supers score and use your best score. So it does expedite your process a little bit. And again, if you’re a student that likes to take a little bit more time, I, when I’m, I’m advising students, I always tell them to look at early action. Because it gives us time. It gives us time to decide, time to prepare and time to make up our minds as we’re moving through.
So some pros of early action. Of course. So it’s non-binding. And, and that’s the one thing that I think is the selling point for me. So it allows students to really select almost, I would say probably closer to 50 or 60% of colleges have at least an early action or early decision option. If there is an early action option, I highly recommend it to students that I’m advising.
It’s. Early notification of your acceptance or denial. So if you have to make a plan B, you have that. There’s higher acceptance rate in both early action, early decision, and of course there’s less stress. So you can go into the new year with all of your applications submitted and then start to rack up those decisions starting the beginning of the year.
It’s also for a student that has tough time with preparation and transitions, this will give you time to really do that second round of visits to all of those colleges that you’ve been admitted to or cross those colleges off the list. If perhaps, you know, money is a factor, they did not give you enough scholarships or perhaps you, you’ve changed your mind.
Early action really, really does give students the opportunity to reassess. And take your time with your college decision instead of receiving a decision at some point in March and having to make that decision by May 1st. So I see really and truly very few cons of early action. I, again, when I’m advising students, I typically push them to do early action so that we have time to go through all of our different options.
We can weigh the financial aid packages, they can talk to students, they can go to the admitted student programs and really get to know those universities before making a choice. And I’m just a person that likes to know I also played a sport when I was in college, so I wanted to know what my chances were of being able to actually play on the pitch.
So it gives you a lot of time to make those decisions. So of course, The pros of just regular decision for a student that may have a lot going on in their senior year and haven’t gotten around to maybe crafting and curating that college list, it allows you time. So typically regular decision applications are due just after January 1st.
Between the first, and I would say the middle to the end of February is when most of those applications are due. So it really does give you a significant amount of time to really craft and curate your application for testing. If you’re a student that did not do so well on tests, but they’re required for the universities that you are applying to.
This will give you time to do any of that test preparation. Test preparation is really important. We recommend students don’t take the test cold. So if you take a PSAT, excellent, awesome. For most of the juniors in the house, you’re probably looking at taking the test for the second, possibly third time.
But if you’re a student again, that needs more preparation, it allows you a lot more time for test preparation. And then of course, the ability to do research to check out majors, check out career paths. A lot of students, like, for example, my school district, we, in our senior year, we could do a shadowing program for the first six weeks of school to give you an idea of what you wanted to do.
So for students who had zero idea, this gave them the ability to hone in on perhaps it was STEM or perhaps it was humanities. It allowed them to do some research. You know, this is definitely a college, a college is definitely a family choice. So for the students whose families are assisting making that decision, it gives everybody more time to, to take a look and see what’s out there and to make the right decision for the, for the student who’s headed to college.
And then of course there are a couple cons I would think of regular decision. So typically regular decision decisions are sent out at some point towards the end of February and all throughout the month of March Ivy Week. Typically is the beginning of April, end of March, right after spring break.
So that later notification does give you a smaller time period to make your decision. National College Deadline Day, the, the day that all of us are looking for is May 1st. So if you’re getting that decision at some point in March, it really only gives you a month to figure out what you want to do, which is fine.
But it does make that timeline a little bit shorter. And then again, like I was talking about, not every student is great with transitions. So there is a shorter timeline for you to prepare to move into college. So if you are not great with goodbyes or you’re a homebody and you’re taking a step out, perhaps early action is a better route for you so that you can take some time to really say your goodbyes and make your peace with college and you know, have the conversations with your friends and family that you need to before you head on out.
So how can students figure out the best course of action for themselves? I really do think this is based off of y your personality your evaluate, your testing, the major, and how selective the schools are that you are applying to. The thing with early decision, like I said, it is binding. So for any student that’s considering early decision, I highly recommend taking a look at what’s called the net price calculator.
Every single university has to have a net price calculator per federal government regulations. The net price calculator will generate for you a financial aid package based off of your family’s income. So now just recognize, you know, this is not the FAFSA, but the, it will, the, it does the best it can.
So we’ll give you a roundabout idea of what a financial aid package would be for your student if you have an, a general idea of your income taxes as well as the student’s GPA and SATs if they submit them. So really take the time to fill that out. If you are planning to any college, even if it’s down the street, even if you plan on living at home, you should do it so that you know how much your family may be on the hook for.
And if you were a student that money is a factor, I would highly recommend that. And taking that into consideration when deciding what course of action you’re going to do for your application sequence, take a look at your testing. Every school actually right about now will gel generate what’s called the student profile based on the new incoming class.
So for the fall 2023. Three class. We are in the process of evaluating to see what the average SAT score was, ACT, GPA. And the top selected majors, go and find the school profile for every single college you cons are considering applying to, and see how your testing, if you’re submitting fits within that category.
If they require SATs and acts and your testing is below that average, you would want to take into consideration taking that test, whether it’s in the next couple of weeks or at the beginning of the school year, so that you can Quickly determine what course of application cycle you’ll be applying to.
And then of course, for our student athletes, athletic recruitment has already begun. So most likely you probably know the students that the students probably know the schools that they’re being recruited by. And usually the athletes are required to do their signing day a little bit sooner so that if you’re being offered a scholarship, you know that going into your application cycle.
So last advice when deciding between early and regular application I, it’s all about organization. So for my students that I advise, we create a massive spreadsheet that has the university, their acceptance rate their application type, whether we’ve decided early action, early decision, regular decision.
The application submission dates, the minimums on the SAT/ACT as well as the cost and any merit scholarships that are available. So with any of these, you do have to be super and hyper organized. Luckily, with the common application, you can apply to 10 schools, so it’s pretty easy to do that.
But you do wanna make a note and just keep track someplace where everyone can see, you know, did we apply? Yes or no? Did we do the supplemental essays, yes or no? All of that stuff is really important and being scattered and all over the place won’t help you through the process. In fact, it probably would make you very, very stressed out.
So trying to be at least pretty organized with that would be my biggest suggestion. I don’t push my students, but I try to get them to apply to at least one school early action, if not more, just because it’s good to get, you know, that one acceptance. Perhaps it’s a safety school or a target school.
We just get that lockdown so that we’re ready to go and can continue on. And then of course taking into consideration for finances. Again, if you are a family, that money is a factor or if you’re just really conscious and you’re not looking to take out a lot of loans, taking into consideration the financing using the net price calculator.
And you can always call any of the financial aid offices or office of of Admission to see if they offer any kind of scholarship. And with the scholarship applications usually. You do have to apply early for the scholarship applications.
Okay. Thank you, Joanne. That now concludes our presentation portion of our webinar this evening. So now we’re gonna move into the live questions and answers. How it’s gonna work is I will read your question out loud that you write into our Q&A tab, and then Joanne will answer it out loud. If you notice that your Q&A tab is not working.
Please try logging out and logging back in through the webinar link that was sent to you in your email. Okay, so we’re gonna jump right into our first question. And so our first question reads, do public universities also have early decision? Can we apply for one private school early decision and one public school early decision?
So public universities also have early decision options and you cannot apply to more than one school, no matter the type, whether it’s profit, not-for-profit, CUNY, SUNY, Cal State, you can only apply to one school in America early decision. So that gets you into a lot of trouble. I don’t recommend that they, this, we talk to each other and we do find out so if you’re applying ED, it’s to one school and one school only.
So this question kind of, it connects to what you just shared. Okay. So it reads if I apply early decision, but don’t earn any merit aid. So this is kind of based on merit though. Okay. Can I still get out of the binding agreement if I can’t afford to go? So that is a school by school pos. Policy.
Right? So your affordability, while you know, maybe, I think that you can afford 20,000 a year and perhaps you believe that you can’t, your affordability is based off of the FAFSA. So typically what happens if, if you tell a school that it’s too much money, they will evaluate do an internal evaluation and let you know if they’re letting you break, break the, if they will allow you to break that binded contract.
There is no recipe or. You know, 90% of them get out of it. It’s really truly based on the school and, and what they determine. But if you talk to them about it and can prove that it’s financially not a good fit for you usually schools are amenable to that. Thank you. Okay, our next question reads, if I apply early decision to one school, how many schools can I apply early action to?
Does it matter whether it’s private or public? So the private versus public doesn’t matter. And you can apply to as many schools as you want early action. It’s just the early action or restrictive early action that does require. One single choice and restrictive. You can only apply to those one for early action and early decision.
You can only apply to that one. But as far as regular early action, you can apply to as many as you want. And like I said, many, many, many schools are opting to have that early action option as well as early decision. So you should be able to apply to a plethora of schools even if you do one early decision.
But no, if you’re admitted, you do have to go to that school early decision. Is there a higher acceptance for early action? So, yeah. Typically the acceptance rate is higher because again, these are the students that are highly interested in the university. So the idea is they, the colleges are admitting the students that they are kind of banking on attending.
So yes, your chances are usually higher in early action, early decision. I’ll give you an example. We had about 8,000 application, early action, early decision that, so that was. Naturally a smaller pool. Our regular decision pool was 23,000 applicants. So if I was a student, knowing those odds, especially for those bigger state schools and bigger universities, I’m taking my gamble on early action, right?
So I wanna be in that first round. I don’t wanna be deferred. I want them to take my application and have maybe one of the students that they’ve identified from the get-go. I agree on that too. Next question is, can the schools you apply to I’m gonna, let me read this one, right? Oh, can, can the schools you apply to see whether you applied early action anywhere?
So we can’t the only way we would know is if you self-identifying your. Essays if you’re using the Common app. So I’ll tell you, you know, when I’m reading, I’ll review some applications for the Office of Admission and sometimes students will write and say, you know, this beautiful essay and talk about how much they love let’s say Bethune Cookman, but I’m Howard University.
You have to recognize whatever you write on that common app in the essay will be shared with the other schools. Supplemental essays for each university are kept private, but your general. Essay will be shared out with the ethos. So if you don’t tell us, we would never know and that would be illegal. We, you don’t want us to know, because I’m sure that would call us some bias.
So we have no idea. We don’t know where you’ve applied to. We don’t know where you’ve set the FAFSA to, how many schools you’ve applied to unless you self-disclose. Okay, our next question is, are financial packages included in early decision or early action? So typically with early decision and early action they have a required timeline for submitting their, your FAFSA.
So with my university, for example, we will send out your admission decision, and if you receive a merit scholarship, it’s also within that letter. Now FAFSA is changing this year, so you can’t even start applying until. Almost the end of the year. So unfortunately you’ll have to wait a a little bit for your financial aid to come out.
We don’t know what that process is going to look like. Every college is kind of up in the air because this is a new process that the government has started this year. But usually your financial aid package comes, you know, two to three weeks after, but you typically know your merit scholarship almost right away.
Okay. Next question is, do you have a higher chance of merit scholarships with early action? So I think that’s like a university, university policy. So I can only speak to the colleges that I’ve worked at. So every student was evaluated for a merit scholarship based on their application. And if they received a merit scholarship, it was given to them, whether it was regular decision, early action, or early decision.
They knew that upon their acceptance. I will tell you, there are some universities that will very much tell you that they give out the majority of their scholarships within that early decision, early action field. So when you’re applying, like I said, and you’re utilizing that spreadsheet that I talked about, you should note whether or not the merit scholarships are impacted by your dis, your application round.
And some schools also additionally have a scholarship application that you also have to fill out.
Okay. Moving on to our next question. It reads what’s in it to the colleges to accept students in early action? Students are not committing and the colleges will have a much broader application, applicant pool and regular decision, especially for the selective college. So basically like wider schools.
Offer early action because just like you wanna know, we also wanna fill our classes and fill the seeds for our class. So yeah, it’s definitely a benefit for you, but as an institution, like we wanna know if you’re gonna come and if you’re gonna pick us, it also gives us more months. To make you fall in love with us and send you presents and have events and introduce you to alums and, you know, take you to sporting events.
So as much as you’re in it to get the benefit of knowing, we also want to identify who you are and connect you with our campus community as soon as possible. So I would say it’s a more of a symbiotic relationship that both parties are benefiting from the early action. Okay. Someone asked a question around you know, so how would I know when to fill out the FAFSA and can I apply to a college university now as a junior?
Can I get that early of a start? So the FAFSA question I’ll tackle and then the application question I’ll tackle. So the FAFSA is changing. So usually, or the last few years I think, Within the last 10 years, they decided to change the process to be paid based off of two years ago. So it’s based off of your family income.
And so for students entering class of 2024, it would’ve been based off of 2020 ones taxes for your family. They’ve now changed that. They’re doing something called your financial aid worksheet, and basically it’s more of a running total of different deductions, items in your house. I would say it’s taking a better look at your total family income, including dependents in your house students in colleges, people on disabilities, everything and anything.
So because they’ve changed the process for that, the timeline is very, very different. They’re not opening the application up until December. Now, that’s not something that any college in America or CollegeAdvisor has decided. That’s what the federal government has decided. We have no idea why they’ve changed.
They do believe that it will create more equity between those, you know, high earning families, middle income families, and low income families. So they’re hoping that this gives the opportunity for students who perhaps couldn’t afford to go to college. It will show the universities that they’re deserving of more aid.
Then there was a question about your application and if you can apply. So friends who are juniors applications for fall 2024 are not open yet. Typically, colleges will open their application, especially if you’re using the common app, even the coalition app and the Black Common app. That application does not open until.
August 1st. So you have a couple of months, but what you can do is you can go on and create your common app profile. So your profile is just basic information your demographic information, information about the people in your household. I think you can fill out the classes that you’re taking, your extracurriculars and you can begin working on your essay.
However, it will not allow you to submit any application because none of us have open applications right now, so you do have to wait a little bit. Okay, someone asked, is restrictive early action worth it? I think it depends. Yeah. I think it depends on timing. Like I had a student last year who applied restrictive early action.
That deadline was October 15th. They knew by Thanksgiving that they were not admitted to the university, but we still had time to apply early action to six other schools. So if you have your things together and, and you can kind of pivot and move on a dime I think it’s worth it. It just depends on how far you are in the process because all of this is done based off of timeline.
So if you’re a person that is not on top of it at the beginning of school year and you need like a month or so to get back into the groove of things, I don’t recommend it. But for a student who. Does have their stuff together and they really are happy about this school and can see themselves there. I think it’s an okay plan.
Great. So it’s really based on the student and Yeah. It’s more of a personal choice. Mm-hmm. So if your student has a nail down their specific major, does early action or regular decision make more sense? So I would definitely not do early decision. I would definitely look at early action, but with the caveat that.
Looking at schools that you can transfer within from school to school or department to department and still graduate in four years. Many universities have plans for undecided students. They have different kind of advising. So if you’re applying to schools that don’t have that, I don’t recommend that choice.
I would wait until regular decision when you’ve really made and narrowed down what you wanna study. If you’re applying early action and you’re happy with your choices and you have the ability to go in undecided, but there’s three or four majors that you can go to once you arrive, that’s fine. But just recognize, you know, if they don’t have an easy internal transfer process, regular decision would be your best bet so that you can wait to see and figure out what you want to, what you wanna be when you grow up, basically.
Should you do reach school for early decision? I think you can. I, I don’t think it hurts it. Again, every student is very different. I had a student who did a reach school for early decision. She said, I’m just gonna throw my information out there and hope for the best. She was waitlisted, which wasn’t a bad, you know, decision.
It. She’s still on that wait list now, and who knows if she’ll get pulled off, but I think yes, just recognize, again, e even if it’s a reach, you have to make sure that it’s a school that you love. Because if it’s not a school that you love and you get admitted, you will still have to go.
Okay, next question. Reads, it just disappeared. Okay, so this question is for schools that accept the common application, cuz you were speaking about the different applications. Is there any benefit to apply directly versus the common application? No, there’s, there’s no benefit and it truly doesn’t matter to us.
The only thing is if they’re supplemental essays tho that’s the benefit, right? So if a school’s providing supplemental essays, you should do them. But it truly doesn’t matter to us if you use our application. The coalition, the common app, whatever is available. It, it’s definitely your choice.
Common app is definitely easier for students who are applying to multiple schools because then you only have to curate one single application. It is hard to kind of back bounce back and forth from application type to application type. So I’m Common App all day. It’s significantly easier than doing single ones.
I, I absolutely agree too. Next question is, can you apply for early action without taking the SAT or the ACT? You can. So many more schools as a positive result of covid are going test optional or not requiring testing at all for any of their programs, whether it’s AP tests, scores, or SAT/ACT tests.
So, You can apply to many schools. Again, it really does depend on the school that you’re applying to as well as some majors. So some majors do require SATs or ACTs. Typically they’re your engineering, nursing, things like that, or pre-doc, pre-dental, pre-law. But it, it, it depends on the application type and what school it is.
Okay. We’re getting a lot of questions about finances mm-hmm. From our participants, and this question is very specific. Okay. So my twins are starting college in the fall of 2024. Okay. One of my twins wants to do early action to one college. But since I have another daughter who does not want to do early action for any school, but cost is an option.
What should I do and when do we get and then, you know, when do we get back or when do we hear back from FAFSA? So when you all do your FAFSA both students, they’ll be considering that you have two students in college at the same time. So essentially they’ll have an identical FAFSA. The universities should evaluate to see, you know, merit scholarship and then they’ll also be looking at the need-based aid.
Likely both students will get around the same type of need-based aid. Let’s say they’re applying to the same school, they should be getting identical financial aid packages. What I will tell you is if you receive a financial aid package for your second student, let’s say Notre Dame is fine or whatever school, and you’re good to go.
You can do a financial aid appeal. Typically colleges will allow you to appeal your financial aid package. Most will say that, you know, we’ve given you the best and that’s all we can do. But it never hurts to ask, especially for a parent of twins or multiples. You’re looking at the cost of possibly $50,000 per human being and you want your student to go someplace great.
So you’re making a compelling argument for. Receiving more aid, so I would allow the student to do early decision. If you do the net price calculator and your family can afford it, pick the top school of your other twin and do that net price calculator and see if your family can afford that price as well.
If you can afford for. Twin one to be at early decision and pay for it and twin two to be at the school of their choice. I say go for it. If you can’t, then there are some things to consider with your family, for sure. Thank you, Joanne. Next question reads, have you ever seen someone apply early action and been denied and then appeal?
The early action decision would happen if so? So typically colleges don’t allow appeals. They, some might. Some. I’ve never been at a university where we’ve appealed decisions. With the earlier rounds of early action, early decision, usually the term that kind of comes back up is a deferment. So let’s say your student was applying early action and was deferred to regular decision.
It means that they wanna see the student in the regular decision pool. So they may get a life back in regular decision. But typically I don’t recommend appeals. There are so many colleges out in. The country in the world for students that work with someone to find a university for your, for your student.
Because many of these colleges will not take an appeal even if a counselor called, even if a legacy parent called they’ve, they’re pretty dead set on their decisions. Okay. Does the student have to decide earlier if they apply early action? They don’t actually, so May 1st is a deadline for everybody in early action and regular decision.
So any of the early da da da da application types, you have until May 1st, which is one of the benefits of applying early action is it gives you so much more time than regular decision. Okay, so we’re gonna take a short pause from our live question and answer for me to share more about the work that we do within CollegeAdvisor.
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During that consultation, a member of our team will review your current extracurricular list. Discuss how it aligns up with your college goals and help you find opportunity for growth and leadership. We also have a financial aid specialty team, as I see that there are a good amount of questions regarding finances, financial aid, FAFSA, CSS profile.
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So our next question reads, do you see very strong candidates get rejected? From less selective schools because the schools don’t think they would attend for yield. And if so, what can you do to improve your chances at these schools? I mean, I wouldn’t say so. We want smart students, so we for sure take the best of the best.
Improving your yield for a student that is smart. Most universities do those supplemental essays, and even if it’s like, I worked with a student this year, I can’t remember what college it was, but. They wanted students to submit a playlist and she was like, eh, I don’t wanna do it. I’m like, listen, there’s obviously a reason that they want you to do it.
Whether it’s fun for us to read or just, you know, something that they utilize throughout the school year for the students, you should do it. I don’t think that you all can go into the process thinking about how we yield students and what our formula is. For accepting students. I wouldn’t worry so much about that.
I would just worry about putting on paper. The story of your student’s applicant history and their educational history. So I. Could sit here and we could discuss the nuances of admissions and, you know, the, what I think are the best ways to do it. But at the end of the day, the job that I play as it pertains to CollegeAdvisors who assist my students on writing an application that I can sum up for.
The admissions committee in six to seven minutes. And so when you start the process, you wanna make sure that from that first profile page to the last supplemental page, that we know who that student is. So don’t worry so much about like if we think that you’re not going to attend or whatever. Even if we don’t think you’re going to attend, I wanna admit a 4.0 student with a 1400 SAT.
Why would we not want that student? Because what if they do attend? And it is a chance? It’s a game of chance, right? Like you’re taking a chance on us and we’re taking a chance on you. So don’t worry so much about what you think the colleges will do. Worry about making sure that you and your family are representing your application well.
Great. Great. So our next question is, can you apply to a school twice? Meaning can you apply through the common app in the coalition app? No, you can’t. Mm-hmm. Many of our systems are pretty sophisticated, so what will tell us if you are an applicant for the same? Admission cycle using two applications.
So don’t do that. That’s just more work for you and just unnecessary. It will create a duplicate record and you don’t want that. So you’ll apply once to any of these schools with one kind of application. Okay. So when applying early action, is there a disadvantage to applying undecided? I don’t think so.
You know, many colleges that aren’t, I would say are highly specialized like a technical school. Or is College of Engineering something along the lines of that? Many of them have those paths for students who are undecided. College is that force to, you know, I guess depending 10 years of your life where you figure out what you wanna do when you grow up.
So we would be remiss if we didn’t have an opportunity for students to do just that. So every university that I’m aware of has. Programming advising for students who are undecided. So just because you’re undecided doesn’t mean that you’re not interested in the university. It means you’re interested in many things university has to offer.
You just need a little bit more time to determine what that is. So just familiarizing yourself with what that path looks like for undecided students. For some colleges, if they don’t let you determine a major until. You know, second semester, sophomore year, or perhaps it’s a college that has more of an open curriculum where you have to decide what your major is going to be.
So finding out what fits for you. But of course, if you’re undecided, you do have to have some general idea of what you wanna do and don’t apply to, you know, Rensselaer or Polytechnic School, which is a school for those who are engineering, computer science, if you love English, like that doesn’t fit.
It’s really about figuring out. Within your undecided, how well we can match you to some of your interests. Okay. If you get rejected from a reach school for early decision, does that mean you’re still legally bound to that school and you’re not allowed to apply early decision anywhere else? Nope.
A rejection equals the breaking of the co the binding contract. So if you’re rejected, you move on, you can keep it moving somewhere else. Okay. And that, someone just asked that same question, so that is also applicable to early decision one versus early decision two, right? Yep. So if you apply e ed two and you’re rejected, you can apply somewhere else.
Okay, so let’s see, let’s see. We’re getting a few questions about supplemental essays cuz that was reference. Just generally, when are supplemental essay questions released, when should I start working on them? So supplemental essays are usually released with the application. So around that August timeframe.
Sometimes there are universities. So most schools have a, an applicant portal that you can upload information, whether it’s a portfolio, a resume pictures. There’s many things you can put in the applicant portal, and sometimes the schools will release the supplemental essays in the applicant portal.
That is very specific to each school. For example, at Howard, our supplemental essays are released when we open the application in August. For other schools, sometimes they have the application cycle, and then they’ll send you an update and an alert after the submission decision. Submission deadline has passed and says, you know, here’s this optional essay.
If you wanna do it, you can. So it really does depend on the school. But typically, once the application is open, most of the supplemental essays are loaded within the application through Common App.
What recommendations do you have for parents assisting their special needs child an early decision versus regular versus early action? So the biggest thing is right now, this is a great time to visit universities. It’s quiet. And usually you can get a lot of appointments with university officials.
So if you have a student with disabilities, learning disabilities, learning differences, whatever the accommodation is, you should make visit visits to those schools for a couple reasons. First of all, Sometimes those additional supports are not included in your tuition and fees as well as your room and board.
So you may be looking at an additional cost for, let’s say a math proctor or extra time, a space for extra time. Not all disability services are built equally. The other thing too is looking at how accessible those disability services are. So you should contact those schools to see what documents they require in order to ensure that your student has the information they need and the support they need.
And also looking at how the students have to advocate or is there an advocate for them on campus. So at my university, Each student has to go through this process every semester of evaluating their classes and then determining what supports are put in place. But there is a lot of self-advocacy. Not every student is able to do that self a advocacy for themselves.
So you really will need to get to know those universities in order to make that decision. So I recommend for people with disabilities and your assisting students with disabilities, you should start looking now. And you can even do a pretty good Google search of you know, colleges with best disability services in the northeast or the south, or you can narrow down your region.
That will generate some college choices for you. And then of course you should ask, you should ask your guidance counselor. Of course there probably has been students before you were a student to go on and be successful at college. So finding out From them what other colleges they suggest to help build that list for the students.
That was really helpful information around just like googling schools that best support students mm-hmm. With special needs. Mm-hmm. Is there an advantage to applying undecided for a student that’s really interested in an engineering major but it’s so competitive so, I think it depends on their internal transfer rate.
So our engineering program is pretty selective. Our students are required to submit a portfolio as well as have a specific course path prior to coming in and SAT as well as GPA. So, If they allow transfers, you can go that route. But not every engineering program is made equally. For example, you can transfer into our programs, but they don’t allow you to transfer in until their sophomore year after you’ve proved that you could take all of their, you know, calc one organic chem, you know, computer science like it is pretty much, we, it’s a intense two years so.
You can try the route of undecided and try to internally transfer first, but you would just need to look at their internal transfer process to see if it actually is something that’s realistic, and then reach out use your networks to reach out to other people to see if that transferability is even possible and how realistic it is.
And also just a quick note about that, transferring into selective programs. Not every college lets you change your major over the summer, so like we don’t, so even if you applied undecided and you got in, you’re like, oh, I’m just gonna be engineering. It doesn’t work like that for us. You, you can’t just do that.
We require at least one year in that major and then you can transfer. Okay, if I apply early action and then the college asked me to switch to early decision two before making their admission decision, does it hurt my admission chances if I stay with early action? Hmm. So we can’t tell you to switch your decision.
That’s highly unlikely that that would happen. And if that is happening, you should probably tell one of us so that we can report that. But we can’t tell students the type of application type. And if schools are telling you, yeah, we’ll admit you if you apply early decision that’s illegal. There, there is a board, please tell me who it is and we will report this college to the board.
You, you cannot do that. We can’t tell students what type of application to fill out. And Joanne, as we’re kind of wrapping up towards the end of this webinar, I’ve gotten a few more questions about explaining the difference between early action versus early decision. I know you did that at the study presentation, but do you mind sharing that again?
Yeah. So early decision is the binding contract. You can apply to one school early decision. It is, the deadline is usually at some point in the early months of your senior year that fall. And once you apply, you cannot apply to any other school early decision. If you are accepted to that school and financially you can afford it, you are required to attend that school.
It is highly unlikely that they will let you break that binding contract. This contract is so binding that it does require your parent signature as well as your guidance counselor’s signature so everybody knows you’re applying early action. Early decision is just more of like an early notification.
So the deadline for that is usually around sometime the beginning of November before Thanksgiving. And then you typically find out whether you’ve been admitted before the first of the new year. So early action for me is always such a great option for students because it gives you a couple acceptances under your belt and then you’re not required to attend any of these universities you’ve applied to early action.
Okay, so for early decision, is it recommended to have a certain amount of recommendation letters? So that’s gonna be a school to school policy. Typically, the schools want a, someone from your core class, so math, english, science, or history. And then a guidance counselor. Anybody additional would be just more of a character reference, whether it was a family friend your coach, a volunteer coordinator.
Those would just be additional, but really for, to. So support your application. We’re looking for a guidance counselor and then someone from your court class. So typically two. What happens if a student breaks a binding contract, such as applying to two ed schools so you get in trouble like not, you know, nobody’s gonna come to your house and, and yell at you or anything like that, but it’s, it’s the honor system.
The common app won’t let you apply to any other school early decision. So it would have to be some kind of sneaky way. It’s highly frowned upon though. The reason that it’s a contract, like we said, and so many people are required to sign, is it’s the honesty policy. So if you do that typically people won’t be super pleased with you.
Nobody would know unless, you know, you’re using two separate applications, but it’s just not something you wanna mess with. And in some cases, I’ve seen this happen once. They’ve put it on the student’s common app profile, therefore it followed them for. You know, and we use common app for applying to law school.
Yeah. To transfer. So it comes back up at some point in your life. Yeah. And then Joanne, can you share just about that binding contract? Who are the individuals that have to sign off on that binding contract? So when you submit a common app for early decision, your guidance counselor is required to sign it, and your parents are required to sign it.
Your application is not complete until. Your signature, the counselor and your parents are received, so your application will not be complete until you sign saying, I know that this is an early action application. I am not applying to any other schools, there will be a penalty. I believe that I’m a great applicant for early decision.
Everybody has to sign, we all sign off on it. We’re governed by the college board and Common app. So it’s just not a good idea to mess around with it. Yes, yes. Is there any data on how many students get in based on early decision? So that’s really based on school to school. And usually your admissions officers to wherever you’re applying can tell you that.
Okay. And. Let’s see, and we got a good amount of questions about financial aid, which we’ll be able to answer in a future financial aid webinar. Or if you have more questions, you can scan our QR code and speak to one of our consultants, one of our representatives. And then I will take this as a last question.
Can you apply both ED one and ED two? No early decision is early decision. No matter if it’s got a one in front of it or a two in front of it. So you can apply ED two if you’ve been denied from early AC early decision. But if you apply, if I am the University of Maryland, you applied early decision to me, ED one to me, and then you’re applying to Roberts Wesleyan ED two, that’s a no-go.
You cannot do that. You can’t do that until University of Maryland says. You’ve not been accepted, then you can go ahead and do Robert s Wesley in early Decision two. So do not get yourself in trouble. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it at all. Not worth it. Okay. So that now concludes our webinar.
Joanne, you’ve got a few shout outs in the chat. Just thanking you for this presentation. You were, you explained everything really clear and concise. It was a very informative presentation, so I also echo those same sentiments. So thank you so much again for this presentation and also taking on some of those financial aid questions and sharing insight about the new FAFSA process that’s coming up.
And to our audience, we do have more webinars that are occurring. So please see our calendar that’s posted here and let us know, you know, by meeting one of our representatives if you have any additional questions. So thank you all so much. Have a great evening. Bye-bye. Bye everyone.