November is the month that most early-admissions applications for college are due. If you are hoping or needing to receive financial aid, this could affect the process. A student should be aware of the requirements and deadlines for aid which varies by school. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, approximately 30% of private colleges offer an early decision option and about 50% of selective colleges do as well. Although applying early decision can be an advantage in college admissions, there are some other factors to consider.
- Aside from having an earlier deadline for admissions applications, students should be aware that financial aid application deadlines will most likely be earlier as well. The FAFSA is available as of October 1st for the following academic year. Check the school’s website for deadlines and remember to file it as soon as possible.
- Students applying early decision also lose the ability to compare offers from other institutions, including the possibility of receiving merit aid. Students applying early decision should be secure in their choice of the school as well as their financial ability to pay for it. It is recommended to use the net-price calculator on the college’s website to determine its affordability.
- Applying early decision or early action could be an advantage in receiving a more generous aid package, including merit aid. Students applying early will appear more committed to the institution. It is possible that there will be less money available for those applying later in the process.
In general, applying early decision admission is not a choice to be taken lightly. For those that are on the fence, but are looking for an advantage, early action application may be a better way to go. There is no downside to it. If you have questions about early admissions or any part of the college application process, please contact Pam Ohriner at Helping Hand College Guidance. We are happy to provide a complimentary half hour phone consultation.