College Applications – So Many Ways To Apply

With application season upon us, high college seniors everywhere are working on the Common Application, the Coalition Application and, in some cases like with the College of Charleston or Endicott College, individual college applications. And while there are multiple platforms to choose from as students complete applications, there are also multiple ways to apply. Let’s talk about the differences and how they affect you.

Early decision, also known as ED, is where you apply to a college through a binding agreement – if you are admitted, you must confirm your enrollment with that college. There’s no backing out of an early decision acceptance. You’re allowed to apply ED to ONE college only. That’s it. This is why your love for the college must be true – you will have to contact your other colleges at which you submitted applications and notify them that you are withdrawing those applications immediately.

Early decision can be a great idea if you know, without a doubt, that you are in love with everything that college has to offer, you know you can afford to attend and you are ready, willing and able to commit to that college. You’re all in with early decision and the risk level is significant if you haven’t done your homework ahead of time.

Early action, or EA, is where applicants typically complete apply in November or December and expect to hear an answer before the start of the New Year. Early action applicants can be accepted, denied or deferred to the regular decision round of applications. Unlike early decision, early action applicants are not bound to their acceptance and have the choice to commit by the May 1st deadline or attend another college altogether. Early action is great because you have the benefit of applying early while also keeping your options open.

There are variations of early action policies. Some colleges are considered single choice early action which means they may not allow applicants to apply early decision and/or, in some cases, early action, to any other colleges. Therefore, it’s important to understand your colleges’ policies when it comes to these early application rounds.

Regular decision is the process by which you apply by each college’s published deadline which is typically around January 1st. Once the application and materials have been sent, applicants can expect to hear a decision by April 1st. Regular decision applicants can be admitted, denied or placed on a waiting list. Regular decision is the vanilla of the application world – it’s plain and simple but it also makes you wait quite a long time for a decision.

Rolling admission is where students are admitted on an ongoing, or rolling, basis. The colleges begin making decisions in early fall and continue to do so until they have met their enrollment requirements for the new freshman class. Colleges may accept or reject an applicant right away, or they may hold off for a period of time in order to gather more information on the applicant before rendering a decision. Depending on how strong or weak of an applicant they are, students may also find themselves on the waiting list. Because decisions are made on an ongoing basis, the earlier you apply, the earlier you can expect to hear a decision. It can feel great to get that first acceptance and it may just help you enjoy the holidays with your family and friends that much more.

On the other hand, rolling admission is great because you can apply when you’re ready. I’m not saying you should wait until the last minute but, let’s be honest – some of you will. Maybe you want to wait for first semester grades before you apply because you know you have some strong grades coming. Maybe your SAT scores were low and you wanted to take them again in November or December. Maybe you just happened to come upon a college mid-year that you hadn’t thought of before and now you want to apply – for any of these reasons and more, colleges with rolling admissions grant you the freedom to apply later in your senior year. 

Of course, for every pro of rolling admission there are also cons. colleges with rolling admission will start awarding aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. Funds are limited so if you apply too late, your financial aid award may not be very helpful. Housing could also be an issue if you apply too late.

As with anything in the college application process, do your homework early on. Check out the admissions webpage for any colleges you are interested to find out which types of applications they offer.

If you have any questions or comments about the types of applications available to you and which one might be the best way for you to go, please shoot us a note – we would love to hear from you!

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.


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In Memory Of Those We Lost At Sandy Hook Elementary School

I live less than 30 minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary School and have several clients who live in or around Newtown. As so many people have, I’ve spent the greater part of the weekend trying to come to terms with what took place Friday morning. I’ve felt sadness and anger all at the same time. I’ve hugged my four year old and cried quietly while he hugged me back not knowing that I was desperate for his touch. I’ve watched the news unable to understand and, yet, incapable of looking away. And I’ve noticed the shooter’s name just about everywhere I looked.

I don’t want to see his name. I want to see the names of those we lost. I want to hear their stories and know who they were. I want to celebrate the good they did and the difference they made in their lives. But most of all, I don’t want to forget. And I hope you won’t either.

May they rest in peace:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel DaVino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Madeleine F. Hsu, 6

Catherine V. Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Russeau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto, 27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison N. Wyatt, 6

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College List Tip: What Are Your Chances?

Note: I will be conducting a college admissions workshop titled, “Navigating The College Admissions Journey” in several towns this fall. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more.

When you are looking at colleges and trying to decide where you will apply, how you will apply and whether or not you will even get in, one of the first things you will want to do is to try to get a handle on your chances of getting in.

To figure this out, head over to the College Board website and pull up schools you are looking at. Go to the Applying tab and then look at the SAT & ACT score averages. These are good numbers to understand because they represent the score ranges for the most recently admitted and enrolled class. When you are on this page, enter your own scores and you will see whether you fall in the top 25% (very strong candidate), the middle 50% (a likely candidate) or the lowest 25% (chances aren’t so hot). For example, let’s look at Trinity College. Trinity is a great liberal arts college here in Hartford which admits about 30% of applicants. You will see that applicants really need to score 700 or better on all three sections of the SAT in order to be considered a top candidate while scores in the 600’s would place an applicant in the middle of the pack. Now, Trinity is also a test-optional school which does not require SAT or ACT scores if you submit two SAT Subject Tests.

However, on their website Trinity says very clearly that submitting one of the SAT, ACT or two SAT Subject Tests satisfies the minimum requirement. If you want to be a top candidate, don’t hem and haw over it. Go beyond the minimum requirements. In this case, SAT scores and two SAT Subject Tests may enhance your chances.

This is just one way (out of so many) to research schools on your college list so that you can make an informed decision about your applications. Take the time to understand the information that is out there so that you feel good about where you are applying and increase your odds of receiving an acceptance.

If you have any questions about college lists and how to gauge your chances of admission, please use the comment box below. You can also email me directly at eric@doblercollegeconsulting.com – I would love to hear from you!

Learn More at Dobler College Consulting’s College Admissions Workshops

For parents who can make it, I will be holding a workshop titled, “Navigating The College Admissions Journey” on the following dates through each towns’ Adult & Continuing Education Program:

Sept 27: Newtown 6:30-8:30PM 
Oct 1: Wolcott 7-9PM
Oct 10: Cheshire 7-9PM
Oct 16: Meriden 6-8PM
Oct 23: Wallingford 6-8PM
Nov 5: North Haven 6-8PM

The workshop shares strategies to help your son or daughter navigate the college admissions process while eliminating mistakes that tend to reduce their chances of admission. Topics include college lists, online resources, essays, interviews, campus visits and what you need to know about making college more affordable.

All workshop participants will receive information handouts and will be eligible for discounts off of any of my college counseling services.

To register for a class, contact the Adult Education Office for the town you reside in.

Don’t live in one of these towns? You can easily get in touch with me to set up a free 60-minute consultation to help address your pressing college admissions-related questions and issues.


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