As the holiday season approaches college-bound seniors find good news in their mailbox, online or on paper. Early Action acceptances have arrived. Unlike Early Decision admissions, which require a binding commitment to a first-choice school, seniors admitted Early Action can take their time to review their college options, all the way to the May 1st deposit deadline.
Early Action acceptances are a good measures of a college-bound senior’s standing in the admissions process. They are also a reward, not only for academic and extracurricular achievement, but also for the student’s enthusiasm, thoroughness and efficiency. Admitted students should take advantage of the available time to confirm that a school is their true first choice. Have a choice between two or more schools? Compare and confirm. Are these schools lower down the list? Keep them in mind. Research them thoroughly while waiting for other decisions to come in.
Some tips to help compare and confirm college choices:
- Admitted students are invited to Accepted Students events. Attend as many as possible, especially if they are within a reasonable driving time from home. Attendance may also lead to further rewards, including larger scholarships.
- Check any notes from the last campus visit, photos, too. They are useful reminders of likes and dislikes.
- Check the costs listed in the admissions materials. Review award letters. The next year’s costs, and those in later years, should be within your means.
- Receive a scholarship? Check the requirements to maintain the award after freshman year.
- Decided on a major? Compare copies of the “degree maps,” the year-by-year requirements to earn the degree in the intended major. Is one degree program more difficult to complete?
- Undecided? Compare the requirements to earn a degree from each school as well as the access into possible majors. Some schools will take all students who are interested into major departments; others cap enrollments in majors that are in high demand.
- Directed towards employment after college? Go to the career services Web site or contact their staff to get reports about internships and jobs.
- Contact students or recent graduates from your hometown along with tour guides who gave out business cards. Get their viewpoints.
What about denials, with no acceptances in hand by Christmas Eve? Don’t despair. Other decisions come in after New Year’s Day. Prepare to send mid-year grades to schools that have not made their decision. Apply to schools that practice “rolling admissions.” An acceptance could come within four to six weeks after the completed application is in.
Early Action admissions allow families more time to make a better-informed decision. Take advantage of that time. Use it wisely to reflect and research college options.
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