What are the Four Main College Admissions Deadlines?
In this 60-minute CollegeAdvisor webinar, former Admissions Officer Shannon Kennedy will give in-depth information on each of the four types of college admissions deadlines that you’ll encounter in the college applications process: regular, early decision, early action, and rolling. In addition, she’ll give advice on how to determine what deadlines might be best for you to pursue in your admissions journey. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-04-18 What are the Four Main College Admissions Deadlines?
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on What are the Four Main College Admissions Deadlines? To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone. My name is Shannon Kennedy. Uh, I’m one of the former admissions officers at CollegeAdvisor.com. Um, I am located in Evanston, Illinois, which is the home of Northwestern university, where I worked for about seven years as an admissions officer worked at a couple of other, um, universities in the Chicago area, lived in Chicago for quite a while.
Um, and also worked in a high school here. So I have kind of worked on all sides of the admissions process and with lots of students over the years. So looking forward to [00:01:00] talking with you tonight, um, about some of the terms that you need to know as you’re going through the college admissions process.
Great. And just before we get started, we’re going to ask you a quick question. So what grade are you currently in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, other. And other can be if you’re a transfer student taking a gap year, or if you’re a parent on call and while we wait for those responses to roll in Shannon, can you tell us, um, what it was like when you were applying to college and what, um, decision you decided to make about your deadlines?
Yeah, sure. So it’s, uh, such a long time ago for me that I don’t think there were quite as many options as there are today. Uh, So it was simpler. It’s gotten a lot more complex over time. I think back when I went through this process, there was mainly just the regular deadline. So things have changed quite a bit.
So especially for your parents out [00:02:00] there, you might be surprised to learn how many different options there are and how confusing it can get. Um, but hopefully we can kind of break it all down today and make it a little more understandable. Yes. And it is looking like we have 6% ninth graders, 16%, 10th graders, 63% 11th graders making up the majority 3% 12th graders and 13% other, and you can control the slides.
Okay. Thanks Mackenzie. All right. So I just wanted to start out by giving like a huge disclaimer and saying that you definitely need to read the details and the fine print. Um, when you are looking at these, uh, different admissions deadlines, um, timelines can vary. They can change from year to year. So if you think, you know, what may have happened last year or, uh, You know, what a prior [00:03:00] student in your family went through.
Um, things can change from year to year. Sometimes deadlines can change in the midst of the season, get extended, especially if there are any like natural disasters or, you know, unusual circumstances in a given year, sometimes deadlines will be extended sometimes. Uh, you can ask for your deadline to be extended if you are going through something individually challenging.
Um, so there are a lot of, you know, different circumstances which may impact, um, these deadlines. And you have to kind of really do your homework to make sure you’re reading all the fine details, um, throughout, um, this process when you’re looking at the deadlines and when you need to get things completed.
So we’re going to be speaking kind of. General terms, big pictures, defining these things, um, so that when you’re sorting it out and reading the deadlines and the fine prints on it, that hopefully it’s a little bit easier [00:04:00] to digest and understand, but you always have to kind of do the legwork to get the full, um, explanation of what you’re, um, encountering.
So we’re gonna kind of approach it sort of in a chronological order of, of how it unfolds during the admission season. Um, typically early action or some of the earlier deadlines that you’ll run into. Um, as soon as October, perhaps sooner throughout November is usually when those early action deadlines take place.
And then we have early decision, um, mainly in November. And as we get into talking about early decision, there could be some different varieties of early decision, which may happen on at different timelines. But the most typical timeline for early decision is in November. Um, sometimes at the beginning, sometimes in the middle.
But typically sometime in that month of November, um, regular decision, uh, the most [00:05:00] standard time for regular decision is January. Um, often it’s the first sometimes, uh, it can vary depending on when the holidays are, when the offices are open. Sometimes it’s adjusted a little bit based on that, but usually January 1st, some offices that are, um, becoming a little more friendly and realizing it’s really hard to get things done over the holidays when no one is at school are pushing them back a little bit further in January or maybe even into February.
Um, but it’s been standard. Um, that January 1st is the, is the most typical early irregular decision that. Um, then we have rolling admission, um, which can also, you know, vary a little bit by institution, but, uh, typically it just means as soon as your, you know, application is completed, um, they make a decision.
So it’s kind of happening all throughout the fall. Um, usually with some specific date in the spring. Um, so we’re going to get a little bit [00:06:00] more into detail into each one of these and break them down a little bit further, but that’s kind of the big picture of when they happen. So let’s get into the nuances just a little bit more.
So early action is typically pretty straightforward. You meet an earlier deadline like in October, November, um, and you get your decision earlier, um, without any commitments, um, as far as, uh, binding, which which we’ll get into, um, different plans can be binding, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to commit to attending.
If you apply an early action, typically you’re just going to apply earlier, get your decision sooner, but still have until probably May 1st to decide if you want to attend that institution. Um, some of the other nuances that can be in there, um, could be a single choice, early action or a restrictive early action.
[00:07:00] So a lot of our Ivy league institutions and some others, uh, but PR have this practice, uh, where they ask you to only apply to their institution in early action and not to others. Uh, sometimes there are exceptions, um, to where you can apply to your public university in your state. Um, or, um, sometimes there are exceptions are related around scholarships, um, that you can compete for.
But, um, they’re really looking for. Um, not a binding commitment, but a little bit of a commitment from you, you know, that you want to really put kind of all of your early chips, um, down on that institution. Um, so we’ll talk a little bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of this, uh, in a bit, but, um, this, this is definitely a case where you want to be reading the fine print.
Um, and even though I deal with these types of plans every year, I still read that fine print every year, [00:08:00] uh, to make sure you know, that I’m, um, helping my students meet the terms, um, within that, because occasionally students do run into, um, confusion and maybe a pilot to when they were only supposed to apply to one, you know, early action, um, in this restricting and sometimes.
That means that the college will rescind the decision or, um, you know, question, um, the students, uh, commitment to attending. Um, and so definitely have seen some students get into trouble, you know, not following these policies to the T. Um, so it, it can get confusing. You do need to kind of really read into the details to make sure that you’re, um, following what you agree to.
You’re kind of signing off on it. But again, this is, this is non-binding, but we’re still gonna have some restrictions. Um, so that’s pretty typical with the early, um, single choice for the Ivy institutions. Um, just [00:09:00] regular early action. Doesn’t have all of those restrictions, just a pirate early, get it, or.
All right. So, um, next, uh, we would have early decision. Um, so early decision, uh, sometimes there’s one and two, some institutions have only one, some institutions have a one and two. I don’t think I’ve seen to me that wouldn’t make sense just to have two, but maybe they have a later, um, early decision deadline, which would seem like an early decision to, but is, um, just early decision.
So it can get a little confusing, but usually early decision one is going to be some time in November. And if they have. Two phases of early decision. The second one will typically be in January or roughly. Um, so this is the plan where you are making a major commitment, um, that you are, uh, basically signing off that you [00:10:00] agree to attend that institution, if you are admitted, um, in early decision.
So. And you need to be really sure that it’s a first choice for you, that if you got admitted to that institution, you wouldn’t even, you know, care what those other envelopes would have had in them, um, that you would be, you know, totally happy with that decision and be willing to attend that institution.
Um, there’s certainly, uh, some financial, um, considerations to take in this as well. Um, usually the colleges that offer early decision, uh, typically have pretty generous financial aid as well. Um, so usually there’ll be meeting full need or offering, you know, a really substantial package to make it possible for all the students that they admit to be able to attend.
Um, but there could be some exceptions to that. Um, and then [00:11:00] there could also be some cases where you would have. Uh, able to compete for merit awards or, or other things, um, at other places. And you won’t ever get to kind of make those financial comparisons. So there’s definitely, um, a pretty serious, you know, financial consideration to take here, um, that you should really, uh, fully investigate before you make the commitment to apply in early December.
Um, usually institutions that offer early decision, you know, their financial aid offices would be really happy to speak with you in advance to kind of talk over any concerns that you have to help you, you know, understand and feel comfortable, um, that making that decision, um, and typically, um, finances could be a potential reason that you could be released from that early decision agreement.
It’s not something that colleges would like to do, you know, after you make that commitment, they hope that you [00:12:00] will honor that and attend, but, um, sometimes once you get that financial aid package, if, if it really just isn’t going to meet your needs or something, um, has changed perhaps in your family situation, um, uh, colleges, you know, are willing to consider that and potentially release you from that binding commitment that you’re making in early decision.
So it’s, it’s a major, um, Major commitment to make for sure. Um, but, uh, as we’ll talk about in a bit, there can be some positives to it as well. I mean, I know I’m making it sound kind of really serious and scary, um, but it can be really great, uh, for students who, um, are, um, you know, having a clear, in a way, um, primary, um, top institutions that they’re seeking to a 10.
So the last, um, or no, not the last, the [00:13:00] next to last one that we have to talk about is regular decision. Um, this is our typical standard deadline in January is going to be the most usual time for regular decision applications to be due. One of the kind of major outliers is university of California. Um, their application is usually due in November.
And again, that could change this year, but this is what it has been, um, in years past. Um, and so sometimes that catches students off guard if, uh, maybe they consider California later in the game and didn’t realize that that decision, um, deadline has already passed and there’s not another option. They really only have the one, um, deadline plan.
Um, so. While some schools will have all of these different options or multiple of them. Some schools will just have one deadline and it’s probably, you know, this regular decision, but [00:14:00] then, you know, they pick their date and it could be, uh, something outside of what you would expect like, um, California, uh, Even though, you know, um, you see the admission deadline and this goes for all of the deadlines, right there, there could be separate deadlines for scholarships or financial aid that may be sooner than the regular, you know, decision admission, deadline.
Uh, so sometimes even though it appears at first there’s only a priority, um, or regular. Decision deadline. There may also be a priority scholarship deadline that is sooner than the actual application deadline. Um, so, uh, even though, you know, you see the deadline, it appears to be January 1st. You still want to dig a little bit further into like the particular major that you’re applying to the scholarships that you’re interested in to make sure that there’s not, you know, something else that you need to do.
Um, in advance. [00:15:00] Sometimes there are surprises, um, that if you don’t, you know, fully read into everything, you could miss out on an opportunity. So you want to really, um, be meticulous about that and look and see that even though it appears very simple and clear with regular decision, there could be other things, um, that are out there.
Uh, but with the regular decision deadline, typically being in early January, It is a really important to think about, um, when your school will be open when there’ll be submitting materials, um, how there can be delays in mail and processing, um, in, uh, Just, you know, even the electronic processing that could happen, uh, because of, um, less staff being in the college admissions offices, um, for the irregular deadlines in January early January, especially you want to be submitting your materials well in [00:16:00] advance.
Um, just knowing that, um, your school may be close, college admissions offices will be lightly staffed and you want to, um, make sure everything gets processed, um, and connected to your application, um, in advance the deadline. So you can kind of go into those holidays, uh, knowing, you know, resting easy, knowing that all of your materials, um, are in place that your application is checked complete.
Um, that kind of goes for all of the deadlines, but especially, you know, with the holiday is falling around. The typical regular decision deadline. I think that’s really important to think about, um, backing your own personal deadline up, um, a few weeks in advance of that, so that you can really know that everything that, um, you are going to submit is going to get processed and attached to your application, um, in advance of the deadline.
And while you still have some time to [00:17:00] contact, um, your school or the college admissions office, if you need any assistance, kind of finalizing any of your materials.
So one more to talk about, um, which is rolling admissions. Um, so again, this is kind of, as an application becomes complete, um, a decision is made typically, um, sometimes they do, you know, wait until a certain date to actually start making those decisions and processing applications. So a kid, you know, vary a little bit and how it works from institution to institution.
But, um, it usually, it’s kind of, you know, first come first serve. As soon as they’re getting those applications complete, they will make a decision. Um, and let you know, um, sometimes they do, you know, work in a priority order, reading their, what looked to be like their strongest applications first and saving other ones [00:18:00] until later.
Um, Sometimes they go, um, until a certain date. Um, and typically in the spring, um, or sometimes it just goes until the class is full. Um, so. Again, there could be, you know, some fine print, some deadlines within there that don’t seem apparent at first, especially if you’re applying to a particular, you know, competitive major or for a certain scholarship program, there probably is some other, you know, still deadline within there, even though it’s rolling admission and you can complete the application and get a decision, um, uh, various points in time.
Um, because of that, it’s, uh, you know, not necessarily, um, the best policy to save these for last, uh, sometimes students definitely get into that misconception thinking like, oh, this doesn’t really have a [00:19:00] deadline. It doesn’t matter. I’m not going to work on this one until later. Um, but, uh, that could really, you know, put you in a bad position if you are.
Um, competing for one of those, um, really, um, competitive, um, majors or, um, some prestigious scholarship at that institution. Um, a lot of times the scholarships are sort of working on the same basis where they are being awarded on that first come first serve rolling basis. So the senior that you’ve gotten your application in, the more likely it is that you’ll be considered for those scholarships.
Um, and so, uh, for lots of different reasons, it can be really great to get these rolling admission applications in sooner than later. Um, sometimes it’s just a major boost of confidence that you can get by getting it submitted and getting [00:20:00] that. Um, affirmative admission decision. Um, a lot of times these institutions are the more accessible ones, um, with, um, uh, Generous admission rates.
So, um, it can really, you know, just provide you that nice reassurance that you have a college admission, um, in the bag as you kind of go on with your, um, more competitive applications. Um, and then also, you know, being considered for those scholarships, um, and, uh, having opportunities to kind of get to know that institution and consider whether it would be a fit for you.
So it can be a really good idea to get that done earlier in the process. Um, even though. It’s easy to procrastinate on those since, uh, sometimes there’s not that specific deadline that you’re working towards. So you kind of have to set your own internal deadline for these rolling admissions ones. And, um, [00:21:00] again, because sometimes they are the more attainable institutions.
Sometimes the application itself is a little bit easier to complete and you can get that done sooner than later without, um, too much effort either. So highly recommend, you know, consider, consider getting those done sooner, even though it doesn’t seem like you may have.
So, um, let’s talk about then what are some of the main differences between these of various deadlines while you might consider some versus the other while the obvious, you know, main difference is simply just the timeline, the timing you’re going to be wanting to think about, um, working in batches, prioritizing kind of laying out a plan, you know, looking at all the options of all of the institutions that you’re applying to and selecting.
Um, like I said, some of the institutions are going to have multiple options. Um, it’s [00:22:00] not necessarily one or the other, so it’ll be some consideration to think about what fits best with your timeline in your priorities, um, as you’re going through. So just the timeline of getting them complete is going to be the biggest difference in looking at these various options.
Um, the binding versus the non-binding. Is another huge difference, right? So, um, that is mainly the early decision. That is the binding one. Um, then, um, most of the rest are non-binding, um, with those, um, restrictive early actions, having some caveats to them and some, um, you know, fine print policies that you need to pay close attention to.
Um, so early decision is, is definitely, uh, the one to look out for. That’s got that binding aspect to it, um, that you need to be pretty serious about if you’re [00:23:00] making that commitment. Um, and then, uh, the admission rates, um, can vary a bit, um, within the institution, uh, between their different, you know, timelines.
So especially, um, and I think we’re going to get a little bit more into this. I probably shouldn’t jump too far off. Um, so I will actually come back to that. So we’re going to talk about, um, the advantages, um, uh, of the, um, uh, how the admissions rates may vary. So I’ll leave you in suspense as we go to the poll.
Yes. So we’re going to do another quick poll. So where are you in the application process have been started on researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application, the teams together, or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. And while we wait for those to roll in, can you tell us a bit about how you go about advising your students when considering, um, deadlines and what works for them?
Yeah, [00:24:00] absolutely. Um, so, uh, for my students, uh, usually really try to get them thinking about meeting as many early action deadlines as they can, especially the ones without restrictions, if they’re not, um, pursuing, uh, any of those restrictive plans, um, to really try to meet those early action deadlines.
And we’ll talk about some of those advantages. Um, um, but I think, you know, another advantage that we haven’t talked about too much yet is just getting, getting. The it off your plate, kidding this stress, uh, over with sooner so that you can then, you know, really enjoy the rest of your senior year. So, um, if you can put in some work over the summer and really get a jumpstart on things, um, you can really meet a lot of the early action deadlines and then, um, have a little bit more time just to enjoy the rest of [00:25:00] your senior year.
It’s really, I think, um, one of the best ways to be, if it works out for you just to really get that, um, jumpstart on the whole process by going after the early action deadline. Definitely. I also advise my students to go for early action. And then also submitting those applications where they don’t ask for like essays or like personal statements supplements.
And you just really just have to click submit and what made you want to do so definitely getting those out the way. And then I also wrote by them that they don’t have to wait until the literal deadlines occurrence something in. Even if it doesn’t have, uh, a specific like early action or early decision option, when you’re on the application, it’ll ask you to click.
If you’re applying regular decision or early or whatever timeline you’re applying to, but you can submit it whatever time, just as long as it’s before the deadline. So technically you could apply to all your schools early, even if it’s [00:26:00] early. Absolutely. Yeah. That is definitely a big misconception. And thanks for pointing that out.
People think that. Uh, you have to wait until the deadline day to hit submit for some reason, and really know we’d really like to see you submit, uh, weeks in advance. Um, and yes, you can definitely, definitely do them all in the November if you want, or October. Um, so that it’s done, even if you’re applying a regular decision.
So, um, there’s really no downside to that, that I can think of, unless you’re expecting some like big, huge award that will make a, you know, a big difference that you want to add to your resume. But besides that, um, it’s usually, you know, better just to have everything solidified sooner than later.
Definitely. And it’s looking like we have 24%, haven’t been started. 68% are researching [00:27:00] schools. Uh, 3% are working on their essays. 3% are getting application materials together. And another 3%, the lucky few are almost. Yeah, that’s great. Okay. So I’m now thinking about some of the other key things to consider, as you’re thinking about which deadlines are going to be right for you.
Um, so for, and as I was kind of saying for early, um, deadlines, if you’re thinking, you know, you might have something a big happening or something new, that’s gonna make a huge difference. That might be a reason to hold off and look at those regular deadlines. Um, also like if something, uh, Really, you know, brought down your junior year for some reason.
Um, if you didn’t kinda end up that year, the way that you wanted, and you really feel like you’re going to make a major [00:28:00] turnaround, um, in the beginning of senior year and want to make sure that those grades, um, will be shown to the admissions office when they’re reviewing your application. That could be a reason to, um, hold off on the early action, early decision.
Um, but, um, Uh, otherwise it’s, it’s usually, um, beneficial to, to kind of go forward. Um, you know, the, that other credential you might still be looking to boost could be a test score, um, that you’re taking one more time and thinking, you know, this is going to be the chance to really bring it up. Um, a lot of students, you know, during COVID I had a difficult times, um, with getting test dates, taking them.
And so that certainly came into consideration. I think this year, when we’re in a better spot for students who are testing, um, to be able to get, um, enough opportunities to take the exam before fall. [00:29:00] Um, so that they’re not, um, still, you know, looking for that test score that they want, um, in fall. Um, so, um, Hopefully that wouldn’t be something holding anybody back at this point.
But, um, you know, you, you could potentially still be taking exams if you, if you want to, uh, give it, you know, one more chance, uh, in the fall to, to earn a higher score. Um, also, uh, you know, it’s, it’s considering whether you do have that top choice. And would you be comfortable not comparing other choices?
Uh, this is really speaking to specifically that early decision timeline, um, in P program, um, where you are assigning that binding commitment. So if you clearly have that top choice then going for early decision, you know, could certainly be for you. Um, [00:30:00] and then, uh, again, you have to weigh if financial aid is going to be a factor in your process or not.
When you’re thinking about making that commitment, um, kind of in the reverse, uh, you know, if financial aid is a factor, then looking at those early action, those, um, Non-binding um, programs rolling with the scholarship deadlines and looking out for those deadlines will be really important. So kind of working both ways.
Um, uh, you know, if it’s not a factor, if you’re not looking to compare different financial aid offers, um, or you’re unsure about how much you’re going to qualify for, um, early decision, you know, might not be the right. But, um, if you do want to go after those scholarships, um, the, especially the, um, merit based ones, you want to meet those early action deadlines.
You want to look for those extra scholarship [00:31:00] deadlines and be in consideration. So, um, you definitely want to, you know, be comfortable with where you’re at with the financial picture, as you’re choosing these deadlines, which certainly can be difficult, which we have additional, you know, entire webinars on the financial aid process.
And so we can definitely look into those and also, um, think about reaching out to those, uh, financial aid offices, where you’re applying early to help you, um, make that decision and, uh, determine if it’s right for you. So, um, now we’re onto what is probably one of the biggest questions that we get and concerns, um, that people, you know, always are wondering about is how does this affect their chances, um, with the different deadlines that they choose.
So do your chances increase if you apply early? Um, I put usually, but not always. That’s kind of the big answer. Um, it, [00:32:00] um, really can vary institution to institution, so it can take some research, some asking of questions, some digging and Googling to figure out, you know, what the differentials are and the admissions rates at our particular institution.
Um, but typically in early, the admissions rates are a bit higher. Um, binding early decision tends to have the biggest, you know, differential. Um, you can also look for the common data set that may break it down a little bit for the different institution. Um, there’s information out there that can help you figure it out.
Um, you can ask at the particular institution, they don’t always release the individual data or make it easy to find or obtain on their website. Um, oftentimes you’ll also find this information in, um, like the college newspaper’s website. Oftentimes the student newspaper will do a story on, you know, what the early decision [00:33:00] admission, um, looked like for the institution.
Uh, so it can take a little slew thing to figure out. What the differences are, um, and asking the right questions. Uh, but, uh, we do know, like at some institutions, the admission rate can be almost double or, um, more than double in, uh, early decision versus regular decision. Just so when you start doing the math, you can, um, do that from the information you can obtain.
And some institutions will admit as much as half or more than half of their class in early decision, which really then leaves, you know, fewer spaces for a larger number of applicants, um, in regular decision. Um, so making that more competitive. So, um, the binding early decision, um, usually has the biggest kind of boost, um, out of the early plans.
[00:34:00] But, um, early action can certainly make a big difference, um, at a lot of institutions as well. Um, especially overseeing like here in the Midwest and our large, you know, flagship institutions meeting those early action deadlines can make a huge difference. Um, So it is, um, you know, certainly important to kind of dig into those details of, uh, the different admission rates and plans to kind of, uh, help you make an educated, informed decision.
If you want to go for that. Earliest vision plan, um, for early action, there’s usually, you know, not a downside to go for it. It’s not findings. So you can go ahead and try for it. And usually it’s going to give you some sort of a boost. Um, perhaps, um, the biggest question we’ll get is really about, you know, the Ivy single choice early action [00:35:00] does that really make, um, much of a difference.
Um, and from what we can see in the data, it probably doesn’t make a huge difference, but you can think of it as like, um, getting the opportunity to get out in front of the other applicants of getting evaluated in a smaller. Um, before all of the applications come in while the admissions office is kind of fresh, um, and not, you know, bogged down by months and months of reviewing applications.
And you’re just showing your extra effort to get your application completed sooner. Um, so while, you know, for the Ivy league institutions, it doesn’t usually. Bear out that there’s a significant difference. It’s, you know, individually putting yourself out there ahead of the rest of the crowd. Um, so it could certainly, um, give a little bit of advantage, but not [00:36:00] huge statistical advantage.
Like we see with the binding early decision programs at other institutions, or even early action at large, you know, flagship, publics. Um, so, um, it doesn’t have as big of advantage, I would say as, as the others do statistics. Um, as, uh, as we know, even though you may choose to apply an early decision or early action, and that’s the timeline that you want to go by.
Um, sometimes things will get changed on you and then it’s out of your control. And the institutional will say, actually, we’re going to consider you in regular decision, uh, which can be certainly disappointing. And that is called, you know, being deferred. Um, so it, uh, extends things out longer than you expected.
Um, but it could give you opportunities to pursue other applications and other, um, things that are out there. So it’s not always the worst [00:37:00] situation, but it’s certainly, you know, frustrating and confusing. Um, if you do. Make the extra effort to apply early and get, you know, your materials ready and, um, they’re on time and then you get deferred to a later timeline.
So, um, that is a possibility that’s out there, even though you make a choice, the college may make a different choice for you as the timeline. Um, so it’s not always a 100% or I should say it’s never 100% in your control after it leaves your hands. You know, other circumstances may, um, have an impact on when you actually receive that decision.
So to kind of tie all this together. Um, let me try to, um, uh, offer some final points of advice before we turn it over to any questions. Um, so again, that main advice [00:38:00] that I typically give is trying to meet as many early action deadlines as possible. Um, so again, you know, reading the fine print of the different, uh, programs that you’re choosing, if you’re choosing single choice, early action or early decision, some of these may be ruled out for you, but, um, if you are not getting into any binding or restrictive programs, then you should be able to meet as many early action deadlines, um, as you can.
Um, and again, if you’re ready to put forward your best application in early in fall, then, um, it can only be positive. To get it done sooner to get your decision sooner, to have more time to make visits, enjoy your senior year. So, um, I can’t really stress that enough, that it really, um, makes things easier, less stressful.
If you can meet as many early action deadlines as fit, um, [00:39:00] into your plan and with all of the choices that you’re making for, um, Your various application plans because, um, it is, uh, in control in your control and you will have some choices when you’re going through this as to which, you know, box you’ll check in which deadline you’ll choose.
So a meeting early action will, um, set you up to be successful just to have more time to meet all the other unexpected things like scholarships and interviews and things that pop up that you weren’t expecting. So again, that’s my plug for meeting as many early action deadlines as possible, highly recommend that.
Um, also I really want to stress that, that early decision, um, binding commitment is a pretty, you know, serious thing. Um, you should not take that lightly. You should really, um, consider, you [00:40:00] know, whether you would be all right with. Just having a decision from that one institution and not knowing what the rest of those decisions could have been.
Um, student, counselor, uh, and parents will all have to sign off on that and agree to it. And, uh, again, um, it is, you know, A binding commitment and really financial aid would be, um, the one true reason that colleges would release you from that binding commitment. So, um, think seriously about that. If you’re considering early decision, um, I check into that financial aid situation, um, look at those differentials in the admission rate to see, you know, if you think it’s worth taking that risk.
Um, certainly, you know, uh, don’t take it lightly. Um, when you’re looking at that, um, you can also think about whether there could be an [00:41:00] early decision to, you know, program available. Institutions. So, you know, if you didn’t feel confident, um, in the fall, then maybe you would have a little bit more time to think about if early decision to, um, would also be an option for you.
Um, sometimes students end up applying, you know, restrictive, early action or early decision one, one place, and then they kind of have a backup plan. If it doesn’t work out where they might apply an early decision to. Sometimes students end up doing both early decision one, um, and early decision to, um, which is a possibility.
Um, like I said, you definitely want to read into all the details. All the deadlines, know what the scholarship deadlines are. No, if there are any specific deadlines for a particular majors, sometimes there are, you know, auditions or portfolios or [00:42:00] other things that are, um, required by a different timeline than whatever, you know, the admission deadline seems to be, or especially if it’s a rolling institution and there’s some other nuance in there for the major that you’re applying to, um, that you may need to submit, um, sooner.
So, uh, you really need to kind of, you know, dig into those details and make sure there’s no kind of hidden deadlines behind what seems to be, um, the initial deadline or that role. Plan. Um, and speaking of the rolling plans, remember that those, uh, don’t need to be left until last and there certainly can be some reasons why doing them first, um, would be a really a great boost to your confidence.
Um, more scholarship opportunities, um, and perhaps, you know, just feel good to check some things off the list, get them done because they’re typically [00:43:00] a little bit easier, um, a little bit less work than some of the more intense, competitive. Applications that you’ll potentially be doing. Um, so getting them done first can just, you know, take a little bit of weight off of what you have in front of you, and then probably give you that, that boost of confidence to keep going.
So I encourage you not to leave those until last. Um, even though it’s kind of hard sometimes to get yourself motivated, give yourself your own deadline, because they’re, they’re not going to give the deadline for you since it’s rolling. Um, so you’re, you’re going to need to be proactive and pick a deadline that works for you.
And if you can get that done early, um, there could be a lot of benefits in it for you. So. I hope that you, um, think about getting ahead of your deadlines, making a plan, researching into those [00:44:00] details to make sure you’re not getting caught up by any unexpected or hidden deadlines out there. Um, and I think we’re ready to take some questions.
We can’t do it. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. And remember that you can download the site from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through your questions. You submitted in the Q and a tab and read them a lot before a panelists gives you an answer as a heads up.
If your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom links into your email and not from the webinar landing page. Also known as the website, um, because it won’t give you all the features, the big markers. So just make sure you join through that custom link.
So, and also I, this webinar is being recorded and you can watch it on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com. I’ve also been typing some stuff in the chat. If you want it to look over that information, I don’t believe that information is saved. So yeah. Necessarily be able to view it later. So if you want it to take that information, you [00:45:00] can copy and paste it or screenshot it.
Or I might just read it off at the end of the webinar, just so it’s recorded. Okay. So getting started, our first student is asking what happens if you break the binding contract or if you can’t afford to attend that college. Yeah. So. If you break the binding contract, um, the institution may, you know, investigate a little further, may contact your high school to find out what’s going on.
Um, there are different ways that colleges share information or can. Check to see if you are legitimately, um, breaking that for the reason that you’re stating or, you know, if it seems suspicious to them, um, I’ve certainly seen people have their admissions decisions rescinded because they were being, you know, dishonest in, um, their early decision agreements [00:46:00] or practices or what they did after, you know, they were admitted in early decisions.
So, um, colleges, you know, are watching over it. I haven’t seen them ever Sue anybody that I know of over this, um, or charge them, you know, the tuition, but they, they certainly can be a little suspect of what’s going on and investigate it a little bit further. And, um, they, uh, then. You know, we’ll certainly take into account the financially situation.
If you truly can attend, if it’s not meeting your needs, you know, they don’t want to put you in a bad financial situation or, you know, have somebody there who won’t be happy or who will, is likely to, um, Disenroll, you know, not be able to continue after they start. So I, you know, they don’t want to get in a situation of forcing somebody to be there, um, that, you know, it isn’t [00:47:00] gonna work or be a positive experience for anybody.
So, um, they’re certainly willing to reconsider, especially, um, in those, uh, financial circumstances. Um, but they, they do take that binding aspect, uh, pretty seriously. Yes. And I applied early decision to Cornell university and an early action to Howard university. So since it was early action, I was able to apply to both early, but, um, which McCollough, um, when I got in to both Howard ended up giving me a full ride, whereas Cornell, they gave me a lot of financial aid.
Um, but there was like a $10,000, um, less than what the full aid was. So. They were giving me more money technically than Howard, just because Cornell costs more, but I’m Howard. I would have gone there for free, but since I was ed for Cornell, I had to go. Um, and I couldn’t, um, argue over how much money they were.
Um, I was getting from [00:48:00] the other schools. So that’s something to consider. You can’t really negotiate as much where early decision. And then also getting out of the binding contract, um, when they say it’s because you can’t afford it, it means art. When they say getting out of it for financial aid, it means because your family truly can’t afford it.
Not because another school gave you more money. Um, okay. So going on to the next question up, uh, thanks for the real example this student is asking when would be an ideal time to begin applications for college to get them submitted. Yeah. Great question. Um, so I think I saw you put in the other chat that, um, the comment application goes live over the summer.
Um, usually end of July. Um, so you can get started, but in fact, you can, uh, go ahead and create your account, start getting used to it. Um, even now, and the account will roll over. So you could begin entering, you know, your basic info in there, poking around, [00:49:00] seeing what is on there. Um, the. Prompts are already released, you know, for what will be the personal statements.
So you can, you know, begin thinking of ideas, working on those, but, um, please don’t take time away from just getting your best grades in the rest of your junior year. That’s really important. Um, if you just start at the beginning of summer, you should have plenty of time to work on your personal statement.
Um, for the beginning of summer, um, early in summer, colleges will probably start posting on their own websites, what their supplemental questions will be. Um, and then when, you know, if you want to get a little jumpstart on them, but when the common app actually releases is when we’ll see, um, you know, all the questions officially in the application themselves, when you can start, you know, working on the individual college sections.
Um, so hopefully you could go back to school. With your personal statement complete [00:50:00] and maybe some of the college sections complete so that you can really have a jumpstart on this. Um, as you’re going back to school, because things do get quite busy, um, as you know, so, um, as much as you can get done in the summer, um, the better place you’ll be in for fall.
Yes. And we do have other webinars on different aspects of the college application process. So like supplements or personal statements or other aspects, if you want more information on that, but some things to consider, um, when you’re applying, um, you had to consider how long it’s going to take to get all the documents and everything completed.
And I just listed in the chat, some things to consider that you’d need to get done. So it could be your essays, which includes your supplements, personal statement, the actual application with all your information, um, test scores. So act, uh, sat. Okay. If you want it to take it more, or if you still need to take it, getting that done over the summer or your junior year is the [00:51:00] best.
Um, and then also just considering like getting letters of recommendation, filling out scholarships and financial aid forms, if you’re interested in those and just other aspects of the application process. So you really want to make sure you have all those things, uh, ready by or before the deadline that you’re trying to apply to.
So if it seems like earliest coming up too quickly, regular may be something to consider. Um, just because it does give you a little bit more time to get all these things together as to going onto the next question. Should you apply to only one early decision school is since you have to commit early or to all the ones you are most interested in.
Yeah. So thank you for asking this. Um, so along with that binding early decision, there usually is a restriction in there because it is binding and you’re agreeing to admit. Uh, to attend if you’re admitted, um, there usually is the restriction that you can only apply to one early decision institution. Um, I did [00:52:00] run into a place once and I met, I didn’t get a chance to Google it before I started here that had something called friendly, early decision, which did allow you to do, um, more than one.
But, um, typically you’re applying to one early decision institution because it is binding. So if you apply to more than one, you couldn’t possibly agree that you would attend more than one. Um, so you can really only apply to one binding early decision. Yes. And, um, kind of, from my example, I was able to apply it to Howard university also because it was early action.
Since early action is not a binding contract, you can apply to as many as those, as you want early decision, you can only apply to one other schools, have different things in their fine print. Some schools have restrictive early action, like Notre Dame, which says that you can only apply to one school. You can only apply to them though.
It’s not a binding contract. So it would be [00:53:00] similar to like applying early decision where you can only apply to one only, um, if you get in, you don’t have to go. So like reading that fine print is really important as Shannon mentioned, um, when considering, but what regulate decision you can apply to as many schools.
Yeah. So going on to the next question. Um, oh, and just for quick answer, uh, HBCU, historically black colleges or universities. Um, I just mentioned it in the chat that a lot of them do have first come first, serve financial aid. There are more webinars on this, um, where, uh, applying earlier is usually better for them because you can get more money, which is why I applied to Howard early.
And it was my second choice too. So, uh, okay. So going on to the next question about how many colleges do people apply to? Um, that’s a really good question. Uh, I mean, I think typically. 12 ish is what we sort of recommend as a [00:54:00] pretty solid list. But, uh, it seems like every year people apply to more and more.
I think we’re probably more like in the 15 ish range, um, as standard. And of course some students do want much more than this. I have known in the last few years, a couple of students who’ve applied to one place, you know, who are really confident about where they wanted to go or who applied early decision.
And, um, got it done then. Um, so it isn’t entirely possible to apply to fewer. Um, but if you are looking, you know, for those options, um, it’s probably going to be in the ballpark of 15, um, to, you know, cover all your bases as things have been pretty unpredictable, um, in the last few years, or just a lot more difficult to predict, um, than they were pre.
Yes. So real quick for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know that the college admissions process is overwhelming for parents and [00:55:00] students alike our team of over 300 former admissions officers, and it mentions experts already to help you and your family navigate at all. And one-on-one advising sessions and last year’s admission cycle.
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Now back to the Q and a. So, uh, going on to the next question, I’m going to combine this with another question. Um, so the students asking what is the first step, um, when applying early decision and, um, the other part of that question I wanted to add was how can a student know if they’re like prepared or.
But we’re the early application cycle. Okay. So the steps are pretty much the same. Um, in early decision, you know, completing that application, requesting [00:56:00] all the materials from your school, from your teachers, the letters, um, the, the steps are pretty much the same. Um, and, uh, one thing I think that students sometimes get hung up on is that they have to have their application complete and ready before they can ask their teachers or get the materials from their school.
Um, so you can begin, you know, asking for all those different aspects from your school and teachers while you’re working on the application to make sure that everything gets there, um, by the early deadline, um, So the steps are the same, just with the additional step of the early decision agreement that you have to sign off on the student, the parent and the counselor, to agree to that early commitment that you’re making.
Um, so the steps are the same, which you can be doing. Not doesn’t have to be in any one particular order, but just kind of activating all those different pieces to get there by the deadline. [00:57:00] Um, and I’m sorry, we can’t do it. What was the second part? Okay. How does a student know if they’re like ready or a good candidate for the, um, early admission cycle?
Yeah. Okay. So yeah, it’s really about, you know, figuring out if that institution is a fit for you, if they have what you need. Um, if you, um, feel like, you know, it’s your top, one of your top institutions and you want to go for it. You should go for it. So, um, you may feel like, you know, maybe you don’t have the right statistics for it, or, but you know, you can let them make that decision.
Don’t make the decision for them. Um, if you are excited about that institution and you feel like it has, you know, what you’re looking for, um, there’s no reason why you can’t go, go for it and give it a shot. And, um, particularly for the IVs, if you’re interested in them, they [00:58:00] are, they’re competitive in general, but the early admissions pool is usually the most competitive, just because most of those students are really like wanting to go to this school.
They really have their stuff together. Um, so you really want to make sure that you have like all the extracurriculars you wanted. Um, you have the grades that you wanted, you have the test scores. Yeah. Um, another thing, this is like a side note, but reminding your letters of recommendation and your counselor that you’re applying early in what your deadlines are.
And then also with all the other admissions deadlines, keeping them, um, on track of where you’re applying to when you’re applying, um, just so that they submit their information on time. Um, they typically can submit a bit later after the deadline, um, and you won’t get penalized as long as your stuff is turned in, but it just helps with your peace of mind to know that they’re submitting their stuff in on time.
And you can see if they’ve submitted. Parts of the application, but really if you’re interested in applying early, you want to make sure that you really like that school, especially if it’s an early decision binding contract, I [00:59:00] loved Cornell or still do, um, uh, Cornell. Uh, and I also really did love Howard.
Um, so I knew in my heart that there were the schools I wanted to go to. If I didn’t end up liking my major, I knew I could switch to many programs. I knew they had all the resources and supports that I needed. And I knew that I was qualified for the right financial aid from, um, Cornell, um, to cover all my costs, um, in my financial aid bracket.
Uh, and then I also knew that I was qualified for the best scholarship at Howard university. So I knew I was covered regardless with money. So, those are definitely things you want to consider before applying early. And then also if you can manage getting those applications in at an earlier time, or if it’s going to stress you out too much, because it can be a lot, um, yeah.
I want to reiterate one thing you said, which is just, you know, getting your application in by the deadline is the most important thing. Um, so yeah, if your high school is delayed, if your teacher is [01:00:00] delayed, for some reason, there’s usually a little bit of leeway there. I’m glad you pointed that out. Um, McKenzie, but, um, you need to make your deadline, first of all, I’m so focused, focused on what you have under your control.
Yes. And I w I, we’re going to try and get through a few more questions. It is coming up on time though. Um, so, uh, students asking, can you ask past teachers for recommendations or do they need to be currently. Yeah, you can ask past teachers. Um, a lot of students do as teachers that they have during their junior year, because they’ve had them for, you know, like a full class, a full year and, um, The class is complete and it’s been recent, you know, they know them well.
Um, so they can write that letter, um, versus, you know, a teacher that you’re having for the first time in senior year, even though their current teacher, they wouldn’t have potentially seen you in the class for as long, um, at the point and fall when you need to [01:01:00] get that letter submitted. Um, so, you know, there are a lot of different circumstances that may come into this with teachers leaving the school or things that happened during COVID that may, you know, make things, um, different, um, for any given student.
But, um, a lot of students will choose somebody from their junior year. That’s recent that they’ve known for a whole year. Definitely. And then also when, um, I was asking my teachers, I asked one from junior year and then I also asked one from senior year since I was applying early that senior year teacher, I didn’t get to know as well, but I did a lot in that class.
So if you did a lot in, um, your senior year, that can really. Um, with your application and a new teacher recommendation or a recent teacher recommendation, um, though applying regular can really help because at least they’d be able to see you throughout a whole semester. Maybe your junior year teachers, you were online or you didn’t feel as connected to them, but you feel better about your senior year teachers.
So that’s also something to consider and there [01:02:00] are also other webinars on how to get the best letters of recommendation. Awesome. Um, yes. And just to, um, close it out. Um, this was a question that a lot of people ask me, um, when I’m applying early, should a student still worry about the regular decision admission cycle?
Like, should they still try and get those applications done? Okay. Yeah. I’m glad this question came up. We definitely want to state this. So if you submit an early decision application, you have to keep working. Like you have to submit that and then try to forget about it and keep meaning, keep working your plan for your regular decision.
And, um, you know, maybe you’ll never click submit on all of those applications, but you can’t wait until, you know, December 15. To start on your regular decision applications, if you don’t get admitted to that early decision [01:03:00] choice. So this is another thing that can be really hard to hold yourself to this, um, completion of these applications that you hope you don’t have to submit because you’re waiting for that early decision.
Um, but you do have to kind of keep pushing through to meet the rest of those deadlines, um, so that you have, you know, your backup plans, um, especially in these unpredictable, um, admissions times. Um, you want to make sure you’re gonna have your options and have your other applications ready? So that’s an excellent question.
I’m glad it was asked. Um, that’s certainly, um, important advice that. Um, can I, you know, put place all your, but, um, on the early decision, um, application, you know, significantly boosting your chances that you want to make sure you’re, you know, you’re setting yourself up for, um, regular decision, um, applications as well.
So, [01:04:00] uh, we absolutely have to continue working on those applications, uh, while you’re waiting for that early. Yes. And my year I did have a few, I was being a bit stubborn just because I am kind of like, I want this or nothing at all. But, um, I did have the rest of my schools, like lined up for if I didn’t get into Howard or Cornell, especially if you’re applying to competitive schools early, you really want to make sure you have those backup plans for regular and that you’re getting those applications done.
Just because even if you are the most qualified candidate, So you can still get deferred or even rejected from these early schools. Um, just because they are more competitive, not because you’re unqualified. Um, and then, so, um, making sure that you have those done, um, because I found out on my birthday that I, um, got into both schools and so I just stopped doing all of that.
So you were one of those people that did too. Yeah. But if I didn’t get in, [01:05:00] I would have had, I had like, um, my applications and stuff ready for the other schools. And if you do get in early, especially for early decision school, you can not submit anything else for regular decision. Not even just to see if you’d get in.
I want it to do it just as Harvard, but you could not do that. That will negate your binding contract, which is not good. And you could get your admissions taken away. Um, so yeah. So any last words before we close. No, I think we’ve covered it. And I’m really glad some of those questions were asked because there were some important points that came up there in the end, you know, to make sure you’re working on those other applications.
Definitely. I’m a really great reminder, you know, you’ve got to make the full game plan and stick to it. Um, Or, uh, you certainly will be really crunched for time if you, um, wait until you get that early decision to complete the rest of your, your regular [01:06:00] applications and be scrambling, um, to get across the finish line, which is not, you know, uh, an enjoyable place to be in the second half of December.
So love to see you to be prepared, to have a plan, to follow it through, um, to read all of those fine details and make sure you’re, um, picking the deadlines that are advantageous for you, because you have a lot of control over creating that timeline for yourself. So good luck everybody doing that research, setting yourself up for success.
Thanks for, um, talking with us tonight. Great questions. And I’m so glad we had, um, those questions at the end, um, to add those additional details. Cause those were really. Yes. So thank you everyone for coming out tonight and thank you to our panelists, Shannon. Uh, we hope you had a great time. Um, we had a great time telling you about, um, the main admissions, um, cycles.[01:07:00]
Uh, and so here’s the rest of our April, um, series on increasing your admissions odds, where we’ll be talking about different aspects of the application process. And if your question wasn’t answered here on this webinar, just remember that we do have other webinars on scholarships on, um, this, uh, specific, um, parts of the application process.
And if you do have a bit more of a personal or niche question, do remember that you can always join CollegeAdvisor and get your own advisor to really help you with those, um, with that individualized, um, Support throughout the application process. And that can really help, especially with the essays or with just figuring out how to navigate, um, the financial aid process, or even just figuring out when you should apply based on your qualifications and what you’re interested in and what school you want to go to.
So thank you everyone for coming out tonight and good night and robe quick. I’m just going to see if I left anything in the chat that needed to be touched everything. [01:08:00] Um, uh, yeah, I think actually, yeah, I did cover everything. Okay. So yeah. Good night, everyone. Thanks for Kenzie. Bye.