As you begin to apply to different colleges and universities, you’ll notice a few different application options and submission dates. You may be asking yourself some of these questions: what’s the difference between Early Action and Early Decision, does applying early raise my chances of getting accepted, or simply, which application process is best for me? As the early application deadlines approach, I will explain the benefits of taking advantage of the early application process, while breaking down each application process and what it means exactly. Additionally, I’ll explain what kind of applicant should apply in each pool.
The first option I’ll be breaking down is, Early Decision. This form of applying includes a binding agreement. You, your parent/guardian, and your school counselor will sign an agreement stating that if you are accepted to the university, you will definitely be attending it. Students who are considering applying to a college or university using the Early Decision option should be sure that the school is a great academic, social, and financial fit. At Saint Joseph’s University, we have two Early Decision application deadlines. The first date is November 1st and the second date is January 15th. Applying Early Decision, allows you to hear back from a university at a sooner date, but if accepted, you don’t have the option to decline your offer.
If you’re looking for an option that allows you to submit and hear back early without the binding aspect of Early Decision, Early Action may be a great fit for you. This application process is ideal for students who feel as though their application is already complete. They are not planning on taking a later SAT or ACT and they feel as though their grades (as is) accurately represents the kind of student they are. If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply Early Action. Not only will you hear back much earlier than Regular Decision, but you’ll also be able to weigh all of your options next to each other. At Saint Joseph’s University, our Early Action Deadline is November 1st. By applying Early Action, you’ll receive your admission decisions, financial aid packages, and more time to think about which school would be the best overall fit for you.
By applying early, you’re getting the peace of mind that your application is now out of your hands. You’ve showcased your best self and you’ve done all that you can do. Now, you can focus on the other important parts of your Senior year. You can enjoy the holiday season without the thought of writing essays and submitting applications and get back to all of the activities that you love doing, whether it be a sport, theatre, or your favorite club. You deserve to enjoy your last year in high school. By applying early, you allow yourself to be fully present in the rest of your senior year.
The last option is Regular Decision. This is a great option for students who really want to showcase their improvement during Senior year or want to take a later ACT or SAT. In this process, your current Senior year grades are included and reviewed in your application. This option gives students who need a little more time to perfect their application just that! The application deadline for Regular Decision is March 15th.
As you continue you work on and submit your applications, I encourage you to reach out to your school counselors and admission counselors for advice on the application process. I wish you all the best during this very busy fall season!
—Candace Hightower ’18, Admission Counselor