When and how to apply to College?

When and how to apply to College?

ED, EA, SCEA or RD. The alphabet soup of applying to college.

(ED) Gives Students an Edge
Early Decision is ideal for students who have identified a college as a definite first choice and are flexible regarding financial aid, or who are applying to schools that promise to meet full need. We encourage students to apply Early Decision if they are certain to enroll if accepted. You may only apply to one school ED and the application is binding; if accepted under ED, you must withdraw applications to other schools. ED applications and all supporting documents must be submitted between November 1 and 15 of your senior year. Applicants find out about ED decisions in December.

Because of the ED application deadlines, 9-11th grade transcripts are extremely important. If you are looking for the best financial aid offer, or if you plan to improve your cumulative GPA, ED may not be the plan for you. With ED, you will not have the flexibility to compare financial aid packages and must accept the financial aid offered by the ED school.

Early Decision II (ED II)
Like ED, ED II applications, when available (NYU, Tufts …) are also binding, and students may have an advantage by submitting an ED II application. Except for at schools that meet full demonstrated need, ED and EDII options favor families who do not need financial assistance to pay tuition, which is most unfortunate for those who do.

Early Action (EA)
The application and all supporting documents must be submitted early in November, usually between November 1 and 15 of your senior year.
Applicants usually find out about EA decisions in December.
EA is similar to ED but you are not bound to the school if accepted. This option is great for students who have decided their EA school is one of their top choice schools and they are ready to apply, but do not want to be obligated to attend the school if accepted. Like ED applicants, EA applicants receive acceptance decisions in December, but have until May 1 to decide if they will enroll. You can apply to more than one EA school, even if you are also applying ED to another university. Some schools with EA plans include Boston College, University of Chicago, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Fordham University.

Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) or Restricted Early Action
The application and all supporting documents must be submitted early in November, usually between November 1 and 15 of your senior year.
Applicants usually receive SCEA decisions in December.

SCEA is similar to EA in that you are not bound to attend if accepted. However, with the SCEA restriction, you cannot apply early to any other school, be it EA or ED, until you have heard back from your SCEA school. This is a good option for a student who is ready to apply to a school they really like but don’t necessarily want to be bound by the decision of the school. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale have SCEA plans.

NSCA can help you strategize when to apply based on your application and particular school trends.