Students Weigh Benefits of Applying Early


Many high school seniors are facing the choice of whether to apply early to colleges or not.

There are three types of application plans that students can undergo.  Early decision refers to applying in November and receiving a letter in December. 

However, in early decision, acceptance is binding; students must agree attend this college.  Early action plans allow students to apply in November and receive a letter by late January or early February.  Early action plans are not binding.  The last plan is regular admission where students apply by January and receive a letter by March.  Students then can decide on a college of their choice by May.

Daniel Cheng, senior, has decided to apply through the early decision program offered at Duke University. 

“Hopefully, I can get in because I still think there’s a better chance for me even though many people tell me there isn’t a better chance.”

Cheng, like other seniors who are applying through early decision, have different reasons for submitting applications early.  Even though acceptance is binding, these students are fully willing to attend the school.  Cheng also does not really worry over the financial package he will receive.

“I know I’m going to have to go to Duke if I’m accepted, but it’s really my dream school, and I don’t want to go anywhere else.  I don’t care about the money either.  I’ll just take what they’ll give me, but I’m not expecting much.”

Students will also have the chance to rethink their applications and college choices if they are deferred.

“I’m also applying to UNC, NC State, MIT, Caltech, and Meredith Community College if I don’t get in [to Duke].”

Other students are applying through an early action plan offered by some colleges. 

Rich Frost, senior, is taking advantage of the early action plan provided by UNC Chapel Hill.  Frost enjoys the benefit of being able to select a college of his choice by the May deadline while still applying early.

“I’ll get to know earlier if I got in or not, and it lets me become more comfortable with college plans.”

Becoming accepted into college earlier provides some opportunities to adjust faster to college life.

 “I can enroll there in dorms and stuff,” said Frost.  Along with choosing dormitories, students can register for classes and purchase textbooks sooner than students accepted through regular admission.

Like Cheng, Frost keeps safe colleges in the back of his mind.  “If I don’t get in, I’ll also apply to Wake Forest and American University.”

However, some students still prefer to apply through regular admissions.

Oishee Sen, senior, will apply to Duke and UNC Chapel Hill through regular admissions.

“I don’t like applying early because I’m taking four AP classes this semester, so I want to be able to use that to boost my application.”

Colleges may request first quarter grade reports later from the student, and they will eventually ask for mid-year grades following acceptance.  However, colleges would not be able to view any senior year grades in early applications.

“I’m only applying through regular admissions because the early decision applications don’t really consider the classes you’re taking this semester.”


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