Originally published on TapInto.net, October 17th, 2016

Why does everything have to be so darn complicated? A few months ago we went over all the

different major application companies and now I have to confuse things further by talking

about the different priority dates.

There’s some good news and some bad news. Bad news first? As with so many other things

schools all set application dates separately and many seem determined to come up with their

own lingo to talk about it. I’ve seen more combinations of the word “Early” with some

synonym of “deadline” then I’d care to admit. Early Action, Early Answer, Early Decision,


(ok, I may have made that last one up).

Ready for the good news? Here it is! This is all way less complicated than you think. Despite all

the crazy names there’s only a few actual categories of decision deadlines. Let’s break them


1. Early Decision: This is the big kahuna. You are only permitted to apply Early Decision to

one school and this will mean the same thing for any college offering it. Applying ED

requires you to sign an agreement that if admitted you commit to attending this college.

Wait, what? What if I can’t afford it? What will happen to me if I break the rules?

Should I apply ED to my first choice? Unfortunately, I don’t have time to answer all that

here. Call me and we’ll talk.

2. Early Action/Answer/Priority etc.: Any other deadline that signifies you as applying

before the bulk of students is really just a way for you to demonstrate your interest in a

school. And that is a good thing. Always. Apply this way everywhere you can. And

bonus: these students often don’t have to wait as long for a decision as everyone else.


3. Regular Action/Decision/Admission: This means you’re lumped in with all the other riff

raff. The difference between this and the proceeding option is this type of school waits

until everyone applies by a certain date, reads all applications at once, and then issues

decisions in bulk.

4. Rolling: The distinction here is that this school will accept and read applications any time

throughout the season until the deadline. They won’t wait to receive all applications to

review them; they render decisions as they go. This means you’ll often hear within a

few weeks of applying. You guessed it, the earlier the better is the way to go!

So that’s it! There is a hidden message here peeps. If you happen to be or you happen to

parent a senior in high school, THE TIME IS NOW! Schools are allowed to set deadlines as early

as October 15 th , so put the pedal to the metal! I like all my seniors to have their applications DONE before

the school year starts. Imagine being able to sit back and enjoy the school year while waiting

for the acceptance packets to arrive

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