College Application Type

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What Type of College Application Plan is Best for YOUR Teen?

Most families do not realize there are several types of application plans offered by colleges and universities. Deciding which is best for your child will help determine what schools to apply to, and the timelines that need to be adhered to when applying to specific schools. Before deciding which type of application plan is right for your child, you need to understand the difference thoroughly.

There are two types of application plans, Non-Restrictive Plans and Restrictive Plans.

Non-Restrictive Applications Plans allow students to wait until May 1st to confirm enrollment.  These include:

  • Regular Decision is the application process in which a student applies to an institution by a specified date and receives a decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period.
    A student may apply to other institutions without restriction.
  • Rolling Admission is the application process in which an institution reviews applications as they are completed and renders admission decisions to students throughout the admission cycle.
    A student may apply to other institutions without restriction.
  • Early Action (EA) is the application process in which students apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular response date.
    Students admitted under Early Action are not obligated to accept the institution’s offer of admission or submit a deposit before May 1st.
    Under non-restrictive Early Action, a student may apply to other colleges.


As Angie Kim notes, there are lots of decisions that go into choosing your top college list! Be sure to “Ask Andi” on strategies that will help you make this process easier along with which type of plan you need for college applications and how this can affect your chances of getting into your top choices!

Restrictive Application Plans: These are plans that allow institutions to limit students from applying to other early programs.

  • Early Decision (ED) is the application process in which students commit to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they will enroll. While pursuing admission under an Early Decision plan, students may apply to other public institutions but may have only one pending Early Decision application.
    Should a student who applies for financial aid not be offered an award that makes attendance possible, the student may decline the offer of admission and be released from the Early Decision commitment.The institution must notify the applicant of the decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period after the Early Decision deadline. Usually, a non-refundable deposit must be made well in advance of May 1st. The institution will respond to an application for financial aid at or near the time of admission. Institutions will clearly articulate their specific policies in their Early Decision Agreement.
  • Restrictive Early Action (REA) is the application process in which students make an application to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular response date. Institutions with Restrictive Early Action plans place restrictions on student applications to other early plans. Institutions will clearly articulate these restrictions in their Early Action policies and agreements with students.
    Admitted
    Students under Restrictive Early Action are not obligated to accept the institution’s offer of admission or submit a deposit before May 1st. 

If you have any questions about selecting a college or the admissions process, please contact me through my website at www.Prep4CollegeNow.com or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!

Andrea K. Frimmer M. Ed.

Prep 4 College Now, Inc.

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