Now that the deadline for the first round of early decision applications is behind us (don’t worry, if you’re still interested in applying early decision to Skidmore College, you can by January 15) we’ve been getting a lot of questions about early decision and early action.
First of all, Skidmore only offers Early Decision. So if you’re looking for early action here, you’re out of luck. Skidmore’s early decision plans are designed for those students who have examined their college choices carefully and have decided, by November 15 or January 15 of their senior year, that Skidmore is their first-choice college.
Secondly, early decision and early action are different. Here are three reasons:
Early decision plans are binding. You agree to attend the college if accepted and if the college offers an adequate financial aid package. Although you can apply to only one college for early decision, applying to other colleges through the regular admission process is allowed. If your child is accepted by the first-choice college early, all other applications must be withdrawn.
Early action plans are similar to early decision plans, but are not binding. If accepted, you can choose to commit to the college immediately, or wait until the spring. Under these plans, you may also apply early action to other colleges. Usually, candidates have until the late spring to let the college know their decision.
Single-choice early action is a new option offered by a few colleges. This plan works the same way as other early action plans, but candidates may not apply early (either early action or early decision) to any other college. You can still apply to other colleges under regular decision plans and is not required to give a final answer to the early-application college until the regular decision deadline.
Here’s a chart to help you understand the differences:
|Application Type||Binding||Can Apply Early to Other Colleges||Can Apply to Other Colleges Under Regular Admission|
|Single-Choice Early Action||No||No||Yes|
So now you’re probably wondering which one you should apply for; early decision or early action. Here’s a tip: you should apply under an early decision or early action plan only if you are very sure about wanting to attend a particular college (hopefully Skidmore!). You should not apply under an early decision or early action plan if you’re planning to weigh offers and financial aid packages from several colleges later in the spring. Also, you shouldn’t apply early if it would be beneficial to have more senior year work to show a college.
Like I mentioned before, Skidmore only offers early decision. But there are about 450 other colleges that offer an early decision plan, an early action plan, or both. Use College Search to look up each college you are interested in and see if it offers these options.
And one last bit of advice, it may seem appealing to get the college decision over with in the fall, but you may want to keep options open during senior year, while learning more about colleges and personal preferences. On the other hand, you may be confident of thriving at a certain college (hint, hint: Skidmore). If so, you’re the type of student early decision was created for.