Early Action or Regular Admission. Which is right for you?               by Patti Brugman


         Let’s start by sorting through your college list and applying a bit of strategy. If you’re ready to start now (while others are sleeping), it might be right for you to apply Early Action. By applying before the November 1st deadline, you can save yourself months of waiting without having to commit to a single school.

         Here’s how it works. Go to Collegeboard.com, search for your college, then go to “Deadlines.”  If there is a November 1st Early Action date for any of your schools, consider applying now.  By sending in your application early, you will indicate to your schools that you are a motivated applicant, an earnest student, and one who thinks ahead. These are all good signs to admissions officers who are in the market for just such a student. In addition, by applying Early Action, colleges will notify you by December 15th. If you are accepted early, Happy Holidays! You do not need to respond to any Early Action acceptance until May 1st.  If you are not accepted early, you will be automatically deferred to the Regular Application pile. And that’s not exactly bad news either.

         However, deciding whether or not to apply early takes a bit of preparation and consideration. First of all, you need to be ready to apply. You know you’re ready if: you have good test scores, a strong transcript, and an engaging application essay. If you’ve just retaken your SATs or ACTs, those scores can still count. With the exception of the University of California, schools will automatically consider your best composite SAT scores, (the best you’ve ever done in Math, Reading, or Writing.) With the ACT, you choose which single sitting score to send.

         If you see that you are in good shape academically and want to have some college choices before Christmas, now is the time to apply. If you are determined to improve your grade point average this semester, are taking your first AP class, or are just not ready yet, there is no penalty for applying by the Regular Application date.

         Think through your strategy then relax and know that you’ve chosen the best path for your college success.