College Admission Top Choices
One of the key decisions you’ll make deals with whether you have a clear top college — or several.
Now that you’ve narrowed your list of school down to a manageable number, you have one final decision to make. Is there one college that is a clear top choice — the college you know you want to attend? If so, you might want to apply for some sort of early action/early decision. If you have several clear favorites, you should probably do what the vast majority of students do and apply for regular admission.
Here are your choices:
- Early Action — an emerging trend in admissions that allows students to apply for admission to the college of their choice early and receive a decision within a few months, well in advance of the normal response dates in the spring. Unlike Early Decision, you are not committed to enroll at that particular institution, and you can compare offers from other schools before making a final decision on what college to attend.
- Early Decision
- Regular Admissions — the typical admissions process for college-bound students who do not have a clear favorite choice. With this method you send in your completed application about midway through your senior year of high school (typically in January or February — check each college for deadlines), and each college notifies you of their decision later in the Spring (often early April). When you apply through the regular admission channels you have no obligation to attend any of the schools to which you have applied.
— a binding agreement between the applicant and the college that basically states that, if accepted, the student agrees to attend the college. While you are still permitted to submit applications to other colleges before the decision, once you’ve been accepted through early decision, you are asked to withdraw all your other college applications.
Need help with any of the terms described on this page? If so, find the answers in our High School College-Bound and College Planning Glossary.
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