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College Resources

What You Need to Know About College Admission Deadlines and Plans

Every college and university has its own admission requirements, policies and procedures with unique deadlines, plans and programs for admitting students. You don’t want to be rejected from a school based on a technicality! Staying organized when applying to colleges is vital to your success.

To ensure the college admissions process goes smoothly, follow these steps:
1.  Write down all the deadlines, admission plans, and admission requirements for the schools you plan to apply to.
2.  Make a list of all the admission requirements, like teacher recommendations and transcripts.
3.  Set a date with the teacher or counselor who is helping you with your application to go over everything.
4.  Gather all of your written recommendations as soon as possible.
5.  Start with the earliest college admission deadline and tackle the easiest application in each deadline category first.
6.  Use the college's online application if possible, but remember that you will still need to mail or fax some paper documents.
7.  Move to the top of the pile by submitting your finished application well before the published deadline.

College Admission Plans

College admissions plans are structured plans for how colleges are going to admit your class. Depending on how selective the college is and how it makes admission decisions, your work and the application process will need to shift to meet the deadlines.

Here are descriptions of the various college admission plans:

Rolling Admissions
This plan is often used by less selective colleges. Students are evaluated for admission soon after their application files are completed. Colleges with rolling admission have final application deadlines. Complete your college application early in the admission season, since later applicants may be up against fewer open spaces than earlier applicants. This is particularly true at very popular or more selective state institutions.

Regular Admission
This is the most common option among colleges and universities. The majority of regular admission deadlines occur between December 1 and March 15. Most students find out if they are accepted in March or April.

Early Notification
This admission plan, also called early evaluation, is offered by some colleges that admit students under the regular admission plan. Because such schools usually notify students of their admission decisions in early to mid-spring, early notification lets you know your application’s preliminary status.

Early Action
Used by some Ivy League and other selective institutions, early action plans require you apply to the college or university early, usually between late October and late November of your senior year of high school. As an early action candidate, you will most likely be notified of your acceptance, denial, or deferment by mid-December.

Restrictive Early Action
Some institutions have adopted single-choice early action policies that restrict applicants from applying early action or early decision to another college or university. If accepted under this plan, students have until May 1st to accept or turn down the offer of college admission.

Early Decision
If you decide to apply early decision, you must abide by the deadline, which is usually at least six weeks earlier than the regular deadline. The majority of early decision deadlines occur between mid-October and mid-November. Students are then notified of the institutions’ decisions by mid-to-late December. With admission under this plan, if you get in, you must accept the offer at once. You are bound to that school and will need to withdraw all other college applications. Only use this option if you are 100% sure you want to go to that school.


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Don Munce