Admission Application Deadlines
Be sure to research the application deadlines used by the colleges you are applying to, as they will vary from college to college. Typically, there are some standard options offered. Remember, the student submits his or her part, which may include a writing sample, but completing an application typically also includes submitting an application fee; high school transcript; recommendations from a counselor, teachers, and/or others; and official SAT or ACT scores. All materials must be submitted by the given deadline in order to be considered by a college.
Rolling Admission Application Deadline
Some colleges will use a “rolling” deadline while others will have a “hard” deadline (meaning they won’t accept an application postmarked or received after a specific date) for submitting applications. If a college offers a “rolling” admission option, they will continue to accept applications until they have filled their entering class. Typically they will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis and notify the applicant of their decision in about 4 to 8 weeks, although some colleges will release their decisions all at once.
Regular Decision Admission Application Deadline
Regular decision deadlines are usually in January or February. Be sure to check with the individual college since some are setting earlier admission deadlines for applicants who want to be considered for academic scholarships.
Some colleges allow students the option of applying early (usually in November) and of finding out early (around the New Year) about the college’s admission decision. Students who use the early option timeline typically do so because they are particularly interested in a specific institution and want to send a message about their level of interest. Generally, the acceptance rate for early applicants may be higher than the overall acceptance rate. There are two early application options, and it is important to understand which is right for you.
- The Early Decision option is for students who are certain of the college they wish to attend. This choice is considered a morally “binding” commitment to enroll if accepted to the college, and if it offers an adequate financial aid package. Students interested in financial aid typically will submit an early financial aid form and are notified of the financial aid award at the time they are accepted. Students will still be required to file the FAFSA after January 1 for the upcoming academic year, and new financial aid awards may be provided based upon the FAFSA information. Students may be released from this commitment ONLY for financial reasons.
- The Early Action option enables students to receive a college’s admission decision early but it is not a “binding” agreement to enroll. Students still may apply to other colleges. A student may accept the offer early or wait as late as the spring to finalize their decision.
Student Reply Date
Many colleges adhere to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Principles of Good Practice deadline of May 1 for students to accept or decline an offer of admission. These colleges agree they will not require students to make a commitment to a college until the May 1 deadline. It is also a good practice for a student to accept only one offer of admission. An enrollment deposit is due (postmarked usually) by May 1 to secure a spot in the entering class. After May 1, a college may stop taking deposits from accepted students and a previous financial aid award may no longer be available. An enrollment deposit is refundable up until May 1.