College Admissions Plans
The types of application plans students encounter during the college admissions process are explained below. Be sure to read each college's literature carefully and consult your counselor if you have any questions about the different admissions plans.
Many colleges establish an application deadline by which all applications must be received or postmarked, such as January 1, January 15, or February 1, etc. All students are then notified of the colleges' decisions at a uniform response date, typically on or before April 1.
This plan is offered by many colleges to applicants who are sure they want to attend the college. This college clearly should be the applicant's first choice. Traditionally, the deadline for early decision applications has been November 1 or 15. Colleges then render a decision by mid-December. Some colleges also have a second round of early decision (usually in January or February). These later plans have the advantage of giving students more time to think through their decisions. You should not apply under an early decision admission plan unless you are certain that you want to attend that college. If accepted under this plan, the acceptance is binding which means the student is under an obligation to attend the college and to withdraw or forego applications to all other colleges. Beware! Some colleges exchange lists of students
accepted under early decision plans.
This program is another option for early notification of acceptance. However, under this plan, if admitted the applicant is not obligated to attend that college and the student may apply to other colleges. The student has until May 1st to decide just as with a regular admissions plan. Colleges typically have either an early decision option or an early action option, although some colleges now offer both.
Under this program a college considers a student's application as soon as all the required credentials have been received. Notification of acceptance or rejection is mailed as soon as a decision is made. Colleges that follow this practice may make their admissions decisions continuously over several months in contrast to the practice of other colleges that accumulate their applications until a deadline date and then announce all their decisions at the same time.
Deferred or Delayed Admission
Most colleges allow an accepted candidate to postpone enrollment in a college, generally for one semester or one year. The accepted student must send a letter to the college of his/her choice requesting deferred enrollment and must send in a deposit by May 1, to hold his/her place.
Candidate's Reply Date
May 1 is the common date by which accepted applicants must indicate their intention to enroll at the college they choose to attend. By use of a common reply date, students may evaluate all notices of admission and financial aid awards before deciding on any one college, allowing students to make informed decisions.