To apply early or not to apply early?
Hundreds of colleges offer early decision admissions plans, which allow applicants to apply early (deadlines for early decision are usually in early November; regular applications are usually due around January 1) and get a decision by early January.
- Better chance of being accepted
- Colleges tend to look favorably on a student who makes them their first choice
- Many people feel that the system puts too much pressure on students too soon. Students might feel compelled to apply early, even if they have not researched all of their options. Thus, they can end up bound to attend a college that really isn’t the best fit for them.
- Limits socioeconomic diversity in the student body. When accepted under the early decision system, you receive only one offer of financial aid. If that offer is unacceptable to you, you can then (and only then) decline the offer of admission. But if you choose to accept, you are effectively cutting off the chance of getting a better package from another school. That can be a huge disadvantage—one of the hidden benefits of applying for financial aid at a variety of schools allows you to play one offer over another.
A Compromise-Try Early Action
If you’re child is a committment-phobe and isn’t 100% positive that they can bind to that one and only school, then they can replace the early decision programs at most schools with Early Action. In place at many top schools already, including Harvard, Boston College, Georgetown, and MIT, early action allows students to apply early, but doesn’t bind students to the school if they’re offered admission. Instead, students can wait to see where else they’re accepted, compare financial aid offers, and make their decision in the spring.
You will also need to consider the following:
- Letters of recommendation – selecting teachers from later school years who’s subject may relate to a future area of study
- Admissions essays – this is the opportunity to stand out from other applicants, painting an overall picture as a student
- Transcripts – document on an official school letterhead with school stamp and consisting of all the grades a high school student has acheived in the various subjects taken over the years
U.S. College Planning Center
Welcome to our U.S. College Planning Center. This is where you can find almost everything you need for your college success in the United States.
Start Your Journey
Test Information: Getting your child into the college of their choice starts with knowing your options, understanding the process and customizing a test preparation plan tailored to suit their strengths and weaknesses. Further Test Information: SAT Test Information and ACT Test Information.
Admissions Factors: Begin laying the foundation and consider the admissions factors as early on as possible to ensure your child does not get too stressed out and overworked closer to the SAT. Further Admissions Factors: Choosing a School and Further Planning.
Application Tips: A strong college application, which showcases your child’s strongest grades, extracurricular activities and personal essay is very important! Every college has different criteria for determining which students to admit. The best tip during this process is to stay organized and pay close attention to the many details. Further Application Tips: Interviews and Social Media.
Prep with Clever Academy & Kaplan
SAT Test Prep Courses: Classroom, Online & On-Demand Options
ACT Test Prep Courses: Classroom, Online & On-Demand Options
Test Scores for Key Colleges: To find out more about what score your child should be aiming for, download our list of the average test scores accepted by many top colleges.