There Are Advantages to Applying During College’s Early Decision Period

For high school seniors there is a lot of pressure to get your college applications in now. Most schools offer their priority filing period starting September 1st through November 1st each year. When you make your application the school will give you an acceptance answer shortly after they receive your application or usually by December 15th depending  on their policy. This can make students anxious because they are afraid to find out they might not get into their college of first choice.

Students need to know that some colleges use this period to cherry pick the type of students that they have determined that they are looking for. Many times they need to bring in more minorities, male or female students after they have reviewed their schools population. They also look at the level of academics for the current school population and will accept the applications of higher qualified students, usually in the schools top 25% of the freshman class of the previous year to raise academic standards.

Even with this happening there are many advantages to applying in the priority filing period. Historically colleges receive the bulk of their applications just before the deadlines to apply.  Most of the highly selective and selective schools cut off all applications by December 31st.  By applying early you get a first look from the essay readers and admission counselors while they have fresh eyes. You have more opportunity to stand out instead of blending into the later mass of applications. You can also benefit from the early decision by not getting your final acceptance in the first round. Most schools will tell you that you did not make the first round but you will be notified of acceptance when they announce who is accepted at their scheduled date. Most of the state schools will have their dates in February and the private schools in March. This can give you time to examine a few other schools that might better meet your needs than the school you are probably reaching for.

When a student has worked a plan to determine if they academically match well with a school and there is opportunity to receive financial aid from them, there should not be any issue with an early application. So the message is to research and visit your schools during junior year of high school. Take advantage of the early application period and use it to your advantage to get accepted in the colleges of your choice. Remember that you will receive your financial aid offers later, after your file your financial aid paperwork. All the schools will then let you make your final decision by May 1, 2013.

Please go to www.cps-illinois for more information concerning our services for college bound students and their families.

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