Admitted Early Action? Congratulations! And Next Steps

By Elizabeth LaScala, PhD

As the holiday season approaches college-bound seniors, who have demonstrated enthusiasm, thoroughness and efficiency by getting their college applications in the early application cycle, may find good news in their mailboxes, online or on paper. Early Action admission decisions have arrived! And “rolling admissions” responses often arrive within four to six weeks after the completed application is submitted.

Unlike Early Decision, which requires 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 acceptances are good measures of a senior’s standing in the admissions process. Admitted students should take advantage of these early notices to research options, this time as an accepted applicant. Students, who applied to a first choice school early and were accepted, should take the available time to confirm that the college really is their true top pick. Students lucky enough to have a choice between two or more great options, should compare and confirm which one is the best match for you. If the schools that received your early applications are ones lower down on your list, it is still a good idea to research them thoroughly while waiting for other decisions to arrive.

Some tips to help compare and confirm college choices:

  • Admitted students are normally invited to Accepted Students events. Attend as many as possible, especially if they are within a reasonable distance 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.
  • 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 appealing than another? More difficult to complete?
  • Turn your attention towards employment after college. Go to the career services website or contact the 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 December 30th?

Don’t despair. If you applied regular decision, other responses will arrive in the New Year. Do well on your final exams and prepare to send mid-year grades to schools that have not yet made a decision. If you feel you have shot too high as evidenced by your early results, reevaluate your college list and consider options that you left out of the mix before. Early admission and rolling admissions give families more time to make more informed decision. Use that time wisely to make a more informed decision about the exciting college journey that awaits you next year!

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