September 2006 Newsletter
With colleges concerned about their yield, and their annual rankings in US News & World Report, early admissions policies have become increasingly more popular. Applicants need to understand the ramifications of applying early decision and the different early action options, so that they make informed decisions about whether or not it is in their best interest to apply this way. The perks for applying early are that the student has a significant edge in the admissions process and, if admitted, can have a less stressful senior year. For the Class of 2013, Cornell University had a regular decision admit rate of 15.5%, however, their early decision rate was 36.7%. The admit rate is defined as the number of applications received divided by the number of students accepted. While many colleges have early decision options, others have early action, single choice early action, or restrictive early action.
If by November of the senior year, a student knows that there is one particular college he or she would want to attend, an early decision application could be the best way to go. Early decision is the process by which the student applies in the fall of the senior year to only one college and agrees by a signed contract to enroll at that school if offered admission. If accepted, (usually by the middle of December) the student must withdraw all other applications, and not submit any additional ones. Since the selective colleges honor each other’s early decision agreements, and many share early decision information, if a student reneges on this promise, it is unlikely that the student will be accepted at any other selective school.
While not all colleges have an early decision option, they may have an early action one. With early action, the student applies in the fall of senior year and receives notification usually by the middle of December. This is a non-binding commitment and allows the student to submit additional applications and to accept or decline the offer of admission by May 1st. A student may also apply to more than one college early action. In addition, some early action colleges allow students to apply to an early decision school.
Some colleges have what is referred to as single choice early action where the student may only apply to one college in the fall of senior year and receives notification typically by the middle of December. This is a non-binding commitment and allows the student to submit additional applications and to accept or decline the offer of admission by May 1st. With this method a student may not apply to any other colleges either early action or early decision.
To further complicate this process, some colleges have instituted what’s called restrictive early action. In this case, a student can apply to as many colleges early action, but may not submit an early decision application to any other school.
Colleges that may or may not have early admissions policies may have rolling admission which is a way of admitting qualified students on a “first come, first-served” basis, and applicants are notified as soon as their credentials are submitted and decisions are made. If applying to a school with rolling admissions, it is in the student’s best interest to submit an application as early as possible.
All colleges have a regular decision option. What this means is that a student applies on or before a specific date and is usually notified in March or April of the senior year. Students who are accepted regular decision, must accept or decline the offer by May 1st.