MANY rising seniors and their families often use the summer before senior year to visit schools and finalize their college lists. It is a fun way to combine a family vacation with a college tour!
BUT, all too often, students make the mistake of putting off the “heavy lifting” required to complete their college application and personal essay until the fall of senior year. Take it from someone who has been down this road before: this plan is not an optimal strategy!
Having critical components of your Common App done BEFORE you enter the front doors of your high school senior year will save you some serious blood, sweat, and tears — especially if you plan to apply Early Action.
What is Early Action?
It is an application process in which colleges allow you to apply “Early” versus “Regular” Decision. There are over 300 schools that offer Early Action to its applicants. Unlike “Early Decision,” which is binding, Early Action is not, and most schools allow you to apply to as many Early Action colleges as you choose.
WHAT’S THE UPSIDE TO EARLY ACTION?
- Signals to colleges that you are seriously considering their school, but there is no binding contract.
- Shows colleges that you have your act together.
- **Gives you a higher chance of acceptance at certain schools if you are within its academic profile range.
- **Offers more scholarship opportunities
- Allows you to know by (around) December 1st if you are accepted or not and what merit aid and scholarship packages you will receive.
- Provides some perspective going into the Regular Decision application process deadline: January 1st.
Here are some colleges that offer Early Action
University of South Carolina: 10/15; Providence: 11/1; Fairfield: 11/1; Ohio State: 11/1; Northeastern: 11/1; Boston College: 11/1; Fordham: 11/1; Villanova: 11/1; Babson: 11/1; University of Maryland: 11/1; University of Vermont: 11/1; U Mass Amherst 11/1; Elon: 11/10; High Point: 11/15; Loyola, MD: 11/15; University of NH: 11/15; Marist: 11/15; and Bryant College: 11/15; and College of Charleston: 12/1.
**Please cross check all dates and information for accuracy when applying.
WHAT’S THE DOWNSIDE TO EARLY ACTION?
1. The College Application Paperwork Must Be Done EARLY. Early Decision and Early Action deadlines usually fall between November 1st and November 15th. Most high schools request that you have all your paperwork into the Guidance Counseling Department anywhere from two weeks to one month ahead of your college’s Early Action deadline. By paperwork, I mean Teacher Recommendations, Common Application, Personal Essay, Transcript Requests and any Supplementary Essays your college of choice requires.
So, for example, if you wanted to apply to James Madison University Early Action, its deadline to apply is November 1st. One reason to do so is that students who apply early are given additional scholarship opportunities. But, applying Early Action requires that you have all your paperwork signed, sealed and delivered to your counseling office between October 1st and October 15th, depending on your high school’s requirements. Waiting until school starts to prepare your JMU application may give you less than four weeks to pull it all together.
2. Your Application Must Present your Personal Best. So if you haven’t met your personal test prep goals or you need to use the first half of senior year to boost your GPA, Early Action is not the way to go.
BUT, regardless of whether you plan to apply Early Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision, rising seniors should not wait until the fall of their senior year to begin their college prep.
STAY INFORMED! ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
Questions or concerns? Email me at eileenstuddert.@gmail.com or call me at #203-313-2739. I will respond to you within 24 hours!