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Applying early to college: yes or no?

Posted by  October 22, 2013 10:15 AM

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It's almost November, which means deadlines for early applications are quickly approaching. Before committing to the Nov. 1 or Nov. 15 due dates for your college applications, it's important to know what the different applications are and whether you should fill them out or not.

This blog, posted by Signet Education of Cambridge and New York City, helps make understanding the process much easier.

The different types of applications, according to the blog, are as follows:

  • Early Action: Non-binding - if you get accepted, you don't have to attend that school - and you can apply to several schools

  • Single Choice Early Action: Non-binding but you can only apply to one school

  • Early Decision: Binding - if you get accepted, you have to attend that school - and you can only apply to one school

While early application rounds may have higher admissions rates than those for regular applications, that doesn't mean that it's easier to get in. You'll be vying for spots against highly qualified students who are equally committed to the schools, which makes the competition even tougher.

So, should you go ahead and turn in that early application? According to Signet's blog post, if you've got good grades and test scores, you've done well in AP or honors classes, and you are certain about the colleges you're applying to, go for it!

On the other hand, if you need to work on your test scores and application essay, improve grades, and get recommendations from teachers, it might be best to hold off applying until the regular cycle begins.

Either way, if you're still second-guessing yourself on your list of schools, holding onto your application is a good idea.

Shandana Mufti can be reached at

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