• Application Deadlines (EA, ED, RD…)

    Colleges offer application deadline choices called Decision Plans (also known as "Admission Plans"). These choices are provided by each college to accommodate an applicant's readiness for application completion (i.e., all required components are ready and submitted by the deadline). At times, it can convey an applicant's level of commitment to the college.

    College decision plans fall into three major categories



  • Regular Decision (RD):

    The vast majority of students who apply to a given institution will do so through Regular Decision, and they can apply Regular Decision to as many schools as they would like. 

    • Unrestricted choice.
    • Time to decide where you want to apply.
    • Time to compose a well-considered application.
    • Ability to submit your 1st semester senior year grades for consideration.
    • Ability to take more standardized tests in Nov or Dec of your senior year.
    • Financial aid and scholarship awards are available to help you make your decisions.

    Rolling Admission (RA):

    Most colleges that offer Rolling Admission (RA) don't offer other ways to apply, so you are not necessarily choosing a rolling plan when you apply. Applications are accepted within a large time frame that may begin as early as August, until all positions are filled. You are notified soon after your application is received. Your response is usually not required until May 1st. These colleges believe they can assess each student individually rather than compare each student to the rest of the application pool. Since positions do fill up, and in some schools financial aid, merit scholarships, housing choices may start to run low, it is advised that you apply earlier rather than later. If you apply earlier, your junior year record should be strong and your testing should be complete by October of your senior year.

  • Early admission options, which offer additional variations:

    • Early Decision (ED): Early Decision (ED) plans are binding, which means you commit to enroll in that school if you are admitted. You are allowed to apply for an early decision to only one college. If you are accepted you will receive a financial aid package offer at around the same time, you must withdraw all applications already submitted and you may not apply elsewhere. Because an ED acceptance is a binding commitment, this choice must be very carefully considered. Involving your parents early in this decision process is critical as your family will not be able to compare financial aid packages or merit scholarship offers between colleges. If financial aid is an absolute need, it may not be a good idea for you to apply Early Decision. Some schools offer two rounds of Early Decision (ED 1 and 2), where the ED 2 deadline is just before or coincides with the Regular Decision deadline.


    • Early Action (EA): Early Action (EA) is the most flexible way to apply early. Almost all early action policies allow applicants to apply to multiple schools for early or regular admission decisions. You will receive notification of acceptance, denial or deferral usually by mid-December. If you are accepted, you are not committed to enroll and you have until May 1st to decide. This gives your family the ability to compare financial aid packages between colleges to which you are accepted.


    • Restrictive Early Action (REA), also known as Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA): A few highly selective schools employ "restrictive" or "single choice" early action policies (REA or SCEA). With these programs, you are restricted from applying early decision or early action to other private universities. Note, however, that there is no restriction regarding applying early to public or foreign institutions, as long as the application is non-binding. You may also be permitted to apply via Early Decision 2 to another private university as long as the notification is after January 1st, but if you are accepted, you must withdraw your Early Action application. Make sure you check each school's restrictions carefully and abide by those policies.