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The One Thing That Increases a Student's College Acceptance Is Weeks Away

Well-informed students from all over the country have known for years the best way to increase their chances of admission is to apply "early." Whether it's applying to a large public university with a Rolling Admissions process or to selective colleges with Early Decision and Early Action programs, students can sometimes double their chances of getting in simply by submitting their applications RIGHT NOW. Most "early" deadlines are November 1. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Many large public universities have a Rolling Admissions process. The sooner the student submits their application, the better chance they have of admission. Early fall is when there are more spaces available in the freshman class. 

  2. Selective public and private colleges tend to offer an Early Decision or an Early Action program, and sometimes they offer both. This allows a student to apply early in their senior year, usually by November 1, and find out their decision by mid-December.

  3. Early Decision is a binding decision. It's only for students who are absolutely positive that one college is where they want to go. If admitted under the Early Decision plan, the student enrolls. Five of the eight Ivy League colleges offer Early Decision: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn. Other highly selective colleges like Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Pomona, and Haverford College offer Early Decision as well. Some colleges fill half of their freshman class through Early Decision even though this applicant pool is only a fraction of the number of applications the college receives for Regular Decision. This increases the admit rate in Early Decision to sometimes twice as high as the admit rate in Regular Decision. If a student is competitive, they have a statistically better shot of acceptance if they apply Early Decision.

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  4. Early Action has similar deadlines and notifications as Early Decision. The difference is that the student who applies under an Early Action program is not bound to attend the college if admitted. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale all have Early Action programs. Tulane, University of Michigan, and University of Miami have Early Action programs as well. The list of colleges with Early Action programs has grown exponentially over the last decade as Early Action has become a popular choice for students. Places like Harvard often say that their admit rates between Early Action and Regular Decision are similar. But there is still a statistical advantage to applying Early Action at most colleges. The slightest advantage is an advantage in college admissions.

  5. There are a handful of Restrictive Early Action programs (Harvard has one) which prohibit a student from applying to multiple Early Action programs. But most of them are very flexible and allow students to apply to as many Non-Restrictive Early Action programs as they want.

  6. There's still time to get everything in by the deadline. Fill out the application, write the essay, complete the supplement, send your official test scores, and notify your counselor so that they can send the remaining materials on your behalf. 

     Don't miss this opportunity. Send in your application now. Don't wait another day.