Early Decision vs. Early Action vs. Regular Decision vs. Rolling Admission Article Type: Fight Club
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Early Decision deadlines are, well… earlier. We’re talking early November here. Acceptances (and rejections) are also earlier and usually come out by the end of December. Yay! Some good old-fashioned rejection, just in time for Christmas! Thanks, Santa!
Some schools have a second Early Decision deadline that comes after the first, but before the regular decision deadline. Ah well. Better later than early than never. As the saying goes. We think.
You are one of the 99%. Get your picket signs ready.
Regular Decision deadlines can fall anywhere between November through March, with the majority of them in January and February. That’s right – it’s gonna be snowin’ deadlines up in heah!
Colleges will usually let you know their decision by around March 15, so beware the Ides…
Make sure you do it before there isn't any space...
Your application will get stuck under the noses of admissions officers sooner, but your chances of acceptance are not necessarily better.
Early decision applicants do usually have a slight edge, but you have to keep in mind that the early applicant pool is also much stronger than the regular decision pool. You’re going to be thrown in with all the other go-getters. But don’t let that dissuade you. Just… go get ‘em.
Either way, you’ll know the decision in time to celebrate (or weep) for New Year’s, which will give you extra time to work out housing options and think about what classes you want to enroll in. It might also give you the chance to make a New Year’s Resolution to never let your future children enroll at Purdue. Those jerks. How could they not see your potential?
If Early Decision is a 10 on the stress-o-meter, Early Action, which doesn’t have the added pressure of the required commitment, is around an 8. Basically, you won’t need to withdraw other applications if you get accepted. Also, if accepted, you can wait until May 1st to respond. May Day! May Day!
No pressure here. Phew. There is no obligation to enroll in any school that accepts you with a regular decision application. Plus, you get an extra few months to work on your application. And your tan.
You are obligated to enroll if you are accepted. Obligated does not merely mean “encouraged.” If you get accepted, you’d better get your buns there. Or they will send someone to escort your buns personally.
Okay, they probably won’t go that far. But if you withdraw other applications and send in your deposit… you kind of need to be sure here. There’s no turning back. You also won’t have an opportunity to compare financial aid packages from a number of schools, so if you are really dependent on financial aid, think hard about this option. You’re much too young to be selling your kidney on the black market.
Familiar with the term “contingency plan?” Plan A is always nice, but sometimes life hands you a few lemons, and you get stuck with Plan B. Unless you don’t have a Plan B, in which case, you’re probably going to get stuck with Plan Live in Your Parents’ Basement. That should be like Plan W… minimum.
You will find out if you got in to your dreamy dream school two weeks before the deadline for most Regular Applications, so we recommend you work on your other applications just in case you don't get in. At the very least, it’ll give you something to do so you don’t spend all your time chewing your fingernails off.
And don’t be like Jonny Slackoff (it’s Slavic). Jonny had everything going for him. 3.7 GPA, half-ride to Purdue… but he came down with a bad, bad case of senioritis. Not something his doctor was able to do anything about. Stopped showing up for class, homework was turned in with nothing more than doodles and his girlfriend’s name written in various fonts. Those guys from Purdue caught wind of his declining performance and turned that half-ride into a… no-ride. Whoops.
You’ll be applying with all of the other Regular Decision Joe Shmoes, so the competition for remaining spaces is tougher. But you thrive on competition, or you… would have applied earlier.
Rolling admissions may make you feel freer than a bird in flight… but it doesn't mean that you should neglect college applications until the very last minute. Especially if you spot a guy in a duck blind wearing a camo vest. Keep clear of that gentleman.
Sometimes applying early increases your chances of getting accepted, so don't put it off. We know you’ve listed “putting things off” under your special skills, but now isn’t the time to demonstrate it.
Early Decision is kind of the big gun in the college application world. Applying Early Decision means that, if accepted, you are obligated to enroll at the school… as long as their financial aid package meets your family’s needs.
If you get accepted and don’t go… bad things can happen. Other schools will find out and they will not be especially eager to bring someone on board with such a blight on their record. You will have signed a contract, so… action can be taken against you. It’s not just a spit-into-your-palm and firm handshake. They’ll have it in writing that you swore your allegiance to them. You’re too young to give in to corruption and betrayal. Wait until you’re in the Senate.
You are only allowed to apply to one college Early Decision (although you can apply to others regular decision). It’s the equivalent of putting most of your eggs in one basket… but then still hanging onto a few spare eggs in case that basket breaks and someone comes along with a slightly less desirable basket. Beyond that, the metaphor sorta falls apart a little.
Bet Early Decision If:
Early Action applicants apply before the Regular crowd, but aren’t required to commit if accepted. It’s the perfect option for wafflers. Pretty popular among future politicians.
Some colleges offer single-choice early action, which means that you won't be able to apply early action or early decision to any other schools aside from the one you've chosen. So choose… wisely.
Bet Early Action If: You are relatively sure of the school you want to attend, but want to keep options open and consider other schools. It’s like… you definitely care about Tonya, but you’re not quite ready to stop being a playa.
Regular Decision is just that - applying when most regular folks do. No bells or whistles here, just get your application in by the regular application deadline, and it will be considered along with all the other Regular Decision applications. How special do you feel now?
Bet Regular Decision If: You are applying to a number of schools, and aren’t positive yet which one you want to attend. You’re also the one who takes like twenty minutes to decide what you want any time you and your friends go into a Coldstone. It’s ice cream. Pick something.
Wait – is this like rollover minutes? If I don’t use all of my good college juju this month, does it mean I’ll be able to save it for next month?
You wish. Rolling admission simply means that you can apply to a school whenever you like within a large span of time, usually from about the early fall to sometime during the summer. Perfect for the indecisive procrastinator. What? We totally weren’t looking at you when we said that.
If you go this route, you have a couple options. You can apply early in the time period or you can apply later; either way, you'll be notified within a few weeks. Rolling admission colleges typically continue accepting applications as long as space is still open. If they’ve got seats available, they’ll want to make sure there are butts in them. Make sure one of those butts is your own.
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