Types of College Admissions Plans
Most colleges have a particular deadline for the receipt of applications ranging from January 1 and on. California state universities/colleges (Nov. 30) and a handful of other schools have a deadline earlier than this. In this type of admissions plan, the college informs applicants about admissions any time before April 15, and the student is asked to respond to an acceptance notification by May 1. A non-refundable deposit is usually expected.
In addition, many colleges have an early decision plan, involving a signed commitment from the student that he/she will attend if accepted. The admissions committee will review the student's application earlier than those of students applying regular decision, and the committee will usually inform the student of its decision four to six weeks after the deadline. A student can submit an Early Decision application to only one college. This is a good policy to take advantage of if you are absolutely sure the college is your first choice and if you are in a position to submit all your credentials by the deadline, which usually ranges from November 1 to January 1.
In recent years, a number of schools have added a second round of Early Decision called ED II. Colleges act on an Early Decision application in one of three ways: accept, defer, or reject. Defer means that the student's credentials will be reviewed again in the spring with the pool of applicants applying under regular decision. If a student is deferred, he/she is no longer committed to attending the college.
This plan is like Early Decision, but it is different in one important way. There is no commitment on the part of the student to attend if accepted. As in Early Decision, it is expected that you are very serious about attending the school to which you are applying, and that you have done the research necessary to establish that this is the school that is right for you. We recommend that you wait until you hear of the colleges decision before releasing applications to other colleges, but, again, each student's situation is unique and needs to be thoroughly reviewed with your counselor before final plans are implemented.
PLEASE NOTE: Some schools require that you do not apply to any other early action, early decision, or early notification program. This may be called single-choice early action.
Candidates' credentials are reviewed in the order in which they are submitted, and candidates are notified of an admissions decision usually in 8-10 weeks. Although a college with this policy accepts its applicants early, the students do not have to notify the college of their decision until May 1. Many schools that have rolling admissions actually use a more modified rolling policy, waiting until they have received a certain amount of applications before reviewing them, thus the 4-6 week reply date may not hold true.