For High School Seniors, this year, particularly the Fall, deadlines will be what they live by. While making sure school assignments are in on time, these next months are filled with non negotiable calendar dates for the college application process. The big decisions have to be made sooner than later. Will you or will you not apply Early Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision?
We know, from the last couple of years, many universities took more students during the Early Decision application process. What do you need to know about this? Early Decision is a firm commitment to attend that university. It is, in a sense, your first contractual commitment if you want to look at it in those terms. Many of you are currently agonizing over – should I apply to this university or that university? You need to be able to pay for the university as well as really love that university. In addition, you sign a form of commitment within the Common Application, as does your school counselor. For this reason alone, you need to have a balanced list.
Remember that Early Decision has a deadline of November 1, maybe November 15th, and in some cases, October 15th (right around the corner!)You will hear back by December, then you are all wrapped up for the year and you can focus on your studies (more on that later) and continue to earn your high marks. Early Action (non commitment until May 1, 2023) hear during the month of December and keep an open mind regarding other options for university and financial aid options as well. Regular Decision applications are often due at the end of December, early January and through mid January. Decisions come out no later than April 1, 2023.
Let’s discuss the timeline for writing these applications. You may not have started your applications, and that’s kind of okay, kind of not okay. If you have not started, then Early Decision/Early Action is pushing your luck perhaps because applications take a lot of thought and this is a process that takes time and thoughtful consideration. There are a lot of essays to write within this application process. Even just three college applications may require several supplemental essays. Most students apply to at least eight applications. It is not a last minute endeavor. So, essentially, start today, even if you are applying Regular Decision.
Here is why I think applications should be complete way before the Winter Holidays. If, by chance, you need something from your school counselor, be reminded that your counselors and teachers are on contract, they are not required to be in contact with you over school holidays. For your own peace of mind as well as the ability to enjoy holidays, the best thing to do is complete your applications before the break. That would be a perfect gift to yourself.
Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Let’s say your applications are complete and your application is submitted. Let’s say, hypothetically, it’s December and you have been admitted to university, are you essentially finished with senior year? Nope. Your university will ask for your final grades and if there is a drop in grades, the university has the right to do several things: place you on probation for freshman year or even deny entry if there is a massive discrepancy between the grades they have seen upon entry and your final grades. Sometimes, if you have committed to taking AP exams or even IB exams and choose not to take those, that may not sit well with universities. Remember, that most universities do give credit for these exams if you score within their parameters.
So: determine your application path-Early Decision/Action or Regular Decision, watch your deadlines, maintain your grades and have a great senior year!