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Getting the Worm

ED, EDII, REA, SCEA. It’s an alphabet soup that you better learn to love! The number of acronyms surrounding college admission plans just keeps growing. How to make sense of it? Focus on the ones that include the initial “E” (for “early”) – Early Decision, Early Decision II, Early Action, Restrictive Early Action, Single Choice Early Action.

Colleges have added early options over the last decade because it is so beneficial to them. Students who apply early are more likely to attend and less likely to need financial aid – just the type of applicants most colleges are looking for. Many colleges take 30, 40, even 50 percent of their class from the early decision pool. Moreover, those early applicant pools tend to be relatively small (remember the commitment and financial aid factors?). It’s basic math to see that admissions rates for early plans (X applications for Y spots) can be far higher than for regular decision (4X applications for 2Y spots).

February may seem early to talk about application strategy. It's long before most juniors (let alone sophomores) are even finalizing their application lists. But Early deadlines (November 1 or 15) are often two months before Regular Admission deadlines (January 1 or 15). Back everything out two months and you will realize that junior year is not too early to finish standardized tests; spring of junior year is not too early to visit colleges; and summer before senior year is actually the best time to start writing essays. The payoff will come at this time next year, when you’re a relaxed second-semester senior, already admitted to your “early” school.

So what are you waiting for? If you need help deciding what to do when, give me a call at 847-660-8625. Or fill out the “contact me” form at the bottom of the page.


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