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I've Submitted My "Early" Application, Now What?

Millions of high school seniors submitted their Early Decision and/or Early Action application by November 1st. Congratulations! Applying "early" can sometimes give a competitive student a slight edge (or more) in the admissions process. But decisions for Early Decision and Early Action are not released until mid-December. Here's what students should be doing in the meantime:

  1. Take a breather. Submitting the first application is the hardest. All subsequent applications will be easier. Take a few days to catch up on schoolwork and sleep so that you are ready for this next stage of the process.

  2. Even though first quarter grades are not typically required for Early Decision or Early Action, a strong performance can increase the chances of admission. If the student performed very well during this first quarter of senior year, they should ask their school counselor to submit their grades to the college on their behalf.

  3. Check the online admissions portal to carefully monitor what the college has received. It takes sometimes a week or two for the college to process all of the pieces of your application. But it's the student's responsibility to follow up if anything is missing.

  4. Start working on other applications that are due. Most Regular Decision deadlines are on January 1st. If students do not get admitted to their "early" school in mid-December, they will only have a few weeks to pull together the rest of their applications. Getting started on these applications is a good distraction as you wait for your decision.

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  5. Be on the lookout for an email or a call from an alumni interviewer. Mid-sized and larger universities that offer alumni interviews in your hometown area will most likely contact you in the month of November if you applied through an "early" program. Small liberal arts colleges usually offer on-campus interviews with a staff member, so reach out to the admissions office if you haven't scheduled an interview yet.

Students have worked so hard to prepare for this moment. They have put in hours of work into the application. No matter the decision, the process of applying to an "early" program prepares students for other applications and what is to come. They can be admitted, denied, or deferred from the college, yet there's a silver lining to every decision. Oftentimes, when one door closes, another one opens.