*POCSmom’s DIY College Prep Insight: College Admission Applications

Cliché: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.    
POCS Reality: Colleges students can select an admission program to increase their chances for admission and financial aid.


If you thought forming a college list was a challenge, wait until you apply for admission. Colleges can offer several admission programs and which one students choose can affect both the chances for admission and the ability to maximize your financial aid.

Colleges select which admission programs to offer and the due date for each program’s application submission. Failure to meet deadlines can result in an automatic rejection even if the applicant was otherwise qualified for admission.

Here are the admission programs:

1.  Regular Decision is the most common admission program. Although deadlines vary, most colleges select a due by date in January-early February and notify students of admission/rejection by April 1st. Admitted students often have a month to decide where to attend and usually must notify the college by May 1st. Failure to meet notification deadlines can result in a withdrawal of the offer of admission.

 2.  Early Admission programs include Early Decision (ED), Early Action (EA), and ED-EA hybrids. They enable students to apply early, usually in November, and receive the admission decision earlier, usually by January. Applying early is a strategy because it can impact both the likelihood of admission and the ability to maximize financial aid. Early applicants may lose their ability to inform the school of their further senior year accomplishments to enhance their application. They may also lose their negotiating power to ask for more financial aid. For example, under ED, students can’t compare financial aid offers because upon acceptance other applications must be withdrawn and applicants are bound to attend as long as minimum financial needs are met. Since the school knows it is the first choice college, there is no incentive to offer more. (Read more about early admission programs)

 3.  Rolling Admission programs allow students to submit applications almost year-round (from fall through summer at some schools) and be notified of the college’s decision within a few weeks of applying. To improve admission, financial aid, and housing chances, students are encouraged to apply early.

 POCSmom’s DIY College Prep Insight: Students should choose an admission program as carefully as they chose their college list to maximize their chances for admission and financial aid. Create a master calendar to include deadlines for each application. Apply sooner rather than later and before deadlines for all college admission applications.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

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