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What is Rolling Admissions?

Posted by: Website Administrator on 8/28/2015

There are several types of college application deadlines, and one that you may be less familiar with is Rolling Admissions. If you find that you’re interested in a school that uses Rolling Admissions, it’s important to know what that really means so you can apply properly.

What is Rolling Admissions? Schools with Rolling Admissions generally accept and review applications on an ongoing basis until their class fills up. Instead of releasing all admissions decisions at once, they make and release admissions decisions throughout the application season. It’s important to note that your application must be complete (meaning the college needs to receive all required application materials) before it can be reviewed.

What types of schools use Rolling Admissions? Most commonly, Rolling Admissions is used by public universities, but there are plenty of private colleges that use it, as well.

Can I apply Early Action or Early Decision at a Rolling Admissions School? There are some colleges that use Early Action or Early Decision, and then review the rest of their applications using Rolling Admissions; others will not have any specific Early program at all. Always contact individual colleges to check their application deadlines and policies.

Okay, so when should I apply – really? If you’re applying under a Rolling Admissions deadline, it’s best to submit your application as early as possible. This is because Rolling Admissions schools continue to admit students as long as they have space. If you wait too long to apply, there may no longer be space available – so even if you’re highly qualified, they won’t be able to admit you. If a college uses multiple deadlines (e.g., Early Action and Rolling Admissions) you should speak to your counselor for advice on when to apply.

Application deadlines vary from school to school – but no matter the deadline, a little bit of knowledge beforehand will help you organize your to do list, and know which applications to work on first. 

Regular Decision Follow-Up

Posted by: Website Administrator on 1/21/2014

If you submitted any Regular Decision applications, congratulations! You can breathe a little easier now that you’re done with your essays and applications. However, before settling in to wait for your admissions decisions in the spring, you’ll want to be sure you follow-up and confirm that your application is complete and that everything is in order. Review our post-Regular Decision checklist to make sure you’re on track.

The Application Itself. It might seem obvious, but you’ll want to confirm that your applications were submitted properly, and that any application fees have been paid. Many colleges send an electronic confirmation when you submit your application, or provide an electronic account where you can check your application status. If you didn’t get an acknowledgement from the college that your application was submitted, you should get in touch to confirm.

Standardized Test Scores. Confirm the testing requirements for each college you’ve applied to, and make sure that you’ve sent the appropriate scores (SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, TOEFL, etc.) to each college according to their requirements. And if you haven’t sent them yet, be sure to send those official scores as soon as possible!

School Documents. You should confirm that your guidance counselor has submitted your transcript and School Report, and that your teachers have submitted your recommendation letters. Most colleges send you information about how to check your application status electronically, and for any Common App schools, you can see when the college downloaded those materials through your Common App account, assuming they were submitted online. If your counselor or teachers have not submitted your recommendations or school forms, you can send them a friendly reminder.

Check Again! After you’ve checked that everything on your end has been submitted – application, test scores, recommendation letters, etc. – wait a week or two and then check your official application status with the college. If anything is still missing a couple of weeks after the deadline, call the admissions office to follow-up. Ask if you need to re-send any documents, or if the missing documents are still being processed. If you do need to re-send anything, be sure to ask the best way to send it! Some colleges have an email address or fax number specifically for application documents.

You might have to wait a few months until you get your admissions decisions back, but you should still be proactive and check early to make sure your applications are complete!

Deferred Application Advice

Posted by: Website Administrator on 1/7/2014

You may have recently received a defer decision from one of your early application colleges, and you might be wondering what that means, and what you can do about it. This blog post should clear a few things up, and help you plan for the future.

What does it mean that my application was deferred? If your application was deferred it means that for any number of reasons, the admissions office chose not to give you a final decision in December. The college will re-review your application in the spring, and give you an updated admissions decision along with the rest of the Regular Decision applicant pool.

Why was my application deferred? That’s very difficult to say, as every college defers applicants for different reasons. Instead of focusing on why your application was deferred, it’s more important to look forward to what you can do to potentially improve your chances of admission in the next round.

So what should I do? The first thing you should do is send a friendly and polite e-mail to your area admissions counselor telling them that you’re still very interested in the school, and ask if there’s anything that would be helpful for you to send them. Sometimes, they might have a very specific request, so it’s important to ask. For example, they might just want to see how your fall semester grades turned out. They might also have specific advice about what you should and shouldn’t do to increase your chances of admission. If there’s nothing specific that they need from you, here are some ideas for you to strengthen your application.

  • Send a short, sincere, and specific letter or e-mail of interest to your area admissions counselor. Let them know you are still interested in the school and why.
  • Ask if you can have an interview (if you haven’t had one yet). Many colleges will not allow deferred applicants to interview, so don’t be discouraged if this is not an option for you.
  • Ask the admissions office if paying them a visit would be a good idea (if you haven’t already visited). Some schools care about demonstrated interest, and a visit could be something they would note.
  • If you feel that perhaps your test scores are a bit weak for the college, you can sign up to take the SAT or ACT again and send the college your new scores.
  • If you’ve had any significant extracurricular or academic accomplishments or achievements since submitting your application, you can send your area admissions counselor an update.
We recommend asking the college before doing anything beyond these suggestions. You want them to know that you’re still interested, but you don’t want to do too much. A few well-written lines can have more impact than an overload of information. There’s no guarantee you’ll be admitted, even if you follow the admissions office’s instructions to the letter. So you should think positive thoughts, and look forward to the admissions decisions you’ll be getting in the spring from all of the colleges you applied to.

Guide to Early Decision

Posted by: Website Administrator on 10/2/2013

Many colleges offer applicants the opportunity to submit an early application to receive a decision earlier in the admissions cycle. In our last blog post, we discussed Early Action, Single Choice Early Action, and Restrictive Early Action as a few of these options. However, not all colleges offer an Early Action deadline. Instead, some schools will have Early Decision. If one of your top choice colleges offers Early Decision, it’s important to be well informed so you can decide if applying under this deadline is right for you.

Early Decision
The most important thing to know about Early Decision is that it is a binding agreement. If you’re admitted to a college under Early Decision, you’re obligated to withdraw your other college applications and accept the offer of admission. You, your school counselor, and one of your parents or guardians will have to sign an agreement to that effect when you apply. This is a significant commitment and should not be taken lightly.

Early Decision deadlines typically occur in early to mid-November, and admissions decisions will be released by mid-December, before winter vacation. In addition, some colleges offer a second round of Early Decision in early to mid-January, with admissions decisions released around mid-February. While these are the standard timelines, you should always confirm application deadlines with every school before you apply.

If your application is denied or deferred under Early Decision, you’re then released from your binding agreement and free to apply to other colleges, and you aren’t required to withdraw your applications at other schools. If your application is deferred under Early Decision, you could still potentially be admitted during Regular Decision, in which case you don’t have to accept the offer and you don’t have to make a decision until May 1.

You can only apply Early Decision to one school since, if they take you, you must enroll. But in addition to your Early Decision application, you can submit Early Action or Rolling Admissions applications to other schools, as long as the other schools don’t have any restrictions of their own. If you’re admitted under Early Decision, though, you must withdraw those other applications and/or decline any offers of admission that have been extended to you. 

Applying Early Decision (if it’s offered) is a great way to show a college that you’re highly interested in them. Many colleges will take your commitment to attend into account, but you still need to submit the strongest application you can. And if your top choice college offers Early Decision, and you feel ready to apply, you could get your admissions decision early, and possibly be done with the college application process before winter vacation.

Early Decision can be a great option, but only if you’re completely certain you want to attend that college. If you are considering Early Decision, be sure to discuss it with your parents and school counselor before submitting your application.


Guide to Early Action Deadlines

Posted by: Website Administrator on 9/23/2013

As you prepare to apply to college in the coming months, you’ve probably come across several types of early application deadlines. The variety of deadlines can be difficult to navigate, making it hard to know when to apply to a particular school. Our series of blog posts about early deadlines, starting with Early Action, will clarify the nuances and differences, and help you make an informed decision about early applications.  

Generally, Early Action deadlines fall around early or mid-November, but can be as early as October 15, and as late as December 1. Early Action admissions decisions are usually released by mid-December, before winter vacation. Beyond this shared timeline, Early Action and its variants – Single Choice Early Action and Restrictive Early Action – have their own nuances and requirements.

Early Action
Early Action is generally the least restrictive of the early deadlines. Under Early Action, your application is non-binding, and you can submit early applications to multiple colleges, as long as the other schools don’t have any restrictions of their own. 

When you apply Early Action you’ll typically receive one of three decisions: admitted, deferred, or denied. If your application is denied, you have not been admitted and you cannot reapply to that school again later in the admissions cycle. If your application is deferred, that means the admissions office isn’t ready to make a final decision on your application…yet. They will set your application aside until Regular Decision, review it again at that time, and then send you a decision in the spring. If you’re admitted through Early Action, you don’t have to accept the offer, and you don’t have to make a decision until May 1. You’ll be able to apply to other schools during Regular Decision and compare offers from multiple colleges.

If you want to take the SAT or ACT in the fall of senior year, you’ll be able to submit your October scores in time, but not all colleges will accept November scores for Early Action. If you’re planning to take a November test, be sure to check with each college about their policies surrounding submitting those scores for Early Action.

Not all schools offer Early Action, but if they do, and you’re ready to apply, there’s usually no downside. If you’re not admitted, you’ll still be able to apply to other colleges. If you are admitted early, it’s great to know you have someplace to go for sure, and you have until May 1 to make up your mind whether or not you want to attend. 

Single Choice Early Action and Restrictive Early Action
Single Choice Early Action and Restrictive Early Action (SCEA and REA) are, at their most basic level, more restrictive versions of Early Action. Like Early Action, SCEA and REA are non-binding and you have until May 1 to accept an offer of admission. However, SCEA and REA limit how many other early applications you can submit. 

It’s important to note that there’s no standard definition for SCEA and REA, and one isn’t more restrictive or limiting than the other. The names are sometimes used interchangeably, and each college develops its own policies no matter which deadline they use. Most colleges that use an SCEA or REA deadline will at least restrict applicants from applying somewhere else under a binding Early Decision Program. Beyond that, each SCEA and REA deadline at each college will have its own nuances. If you’re interested in a school that uses SCEA or REA, it’s important to check with the admissions office about their specific policies.

You’ll want to think carefully about applying Single Choice Early Action or Restrictive Early Action because it will limit how many early applications you can submit. If one of your top choice colleges offers SCEA and REA, applying early can be a nice way to show them you’re interested. 

If you’re ready, and have a couple of top choice colleges, submitting an early application or two is a great way to begin the college application season. It makes you collect your application materials early, be on top of writing your essays, and you could possibly gain a couple of admission offers by winter break. However, it’s important to pay attention to the specific type of early deadlines at each college. Understanding the different types of early deadlines will help you make smart decisions about when to apply. 

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