**By Imani Majied - Cornell University
With the pressure of applying to college, the daunting question of whether or not to apply early can be a dilemma for some. Learn which admissions option is best for you of the four types.There are four different options when applying to college: Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision, or “Rolling” Admission. These options vary depending on the due dates of the applications and the compulsory status of the acceptance.
What Are My Options?
Early Action v. Early Decision
When a school offers applicants to apply “Early Action”, it means the student may apply before November 1st or November 15th, but the decision is not binding. With Early Decision, however, a student is obliged to go to the school in which he or she applied.
To apply Regular Decision, or by January 1st in most cases, means a student is applying to the college with a larger applicant pool than Early Decision or Early Action. Although some may see this as a disadvantage, admission officers say all applicants are looked at equally, despite the time in which they apply.If anything, applicants that apply Early Decision solely show more of a commitment to a school than applicants who apply for Regular Decision in December.
Some schools, like several international universities, accept students with “rolling admission”. This basically means a student can apply at any point during the year and still be considered for acceptance. Some students consider applying to schools with rolling admission to be less stressful because of the lack of a finite due date.Whether a student decides to apply early or not largely depends on their confidence in their college application.
Which Option Do I Choose?
When someone applies to a college, they want to portray the best image of themselves as possible. For this reason, it is essential to feel assured that an application is completed to the fullest satisfaction. This includes having competent test scores, college essays and/or supplements. If you are deciding between applying early or regular decision, ask yourself these questions:
Are you confident that you know where you want to go to college?
Do you think you will have a strong application by November?
If you answered, “yes” to these two questions, it may be in your best interest to apply early. If you feel as if you need more time to be confident in your answers, applying regular decision or “rolling” could be a better choice for you.If you need personalized attention, it is best to consult with your college counselor or advisor. All in all, presenting a distinguished profile is most important when deciding when to apply to college.Every student is at a unique place in the college process, thus it important to do some self-reflection when applying to college.