Types of Admissions"Typical" Deadline
Early Decision INovember
Early ActionNovember 1 or November 15
Early Decision IIDecember or January
Regular DecisionJanuary 1- February 1
Rolling AdmissionsSeptember - June 1, or until all class slots are filled
Open AdmissionsOctober -  August 1

College Admissions: Types of Applications and Deadlines

Types of Applications

1) Open Admissions:

Most community or junior colleges use this type of application. "Open" not only means a longer range of dates during which to apply but also that most high school graduates will be accepted as long as there are slots available. If your grades are not as high as you would like, or if you have not taken SAT/ACT tests, this may be your best place to start. You do not commit until you make payment arrangements.

2) Rolling Admissions:

Applications are reviewed and students accepted until class slots are filled. You will usually hear back from the college or university within 2 months of applying. Submit your best application as early as possible.

Click here to view colleges that take applications through the rolling admissions process.

3) Regular Decision:

This is the most common option that is offered to and taken by students that apply to 4-year colleges and universities. You will hear back from the colleges or universities by late March or early April(Note: If you are considering California, it has a much earlier regular decision deadline of  November 30.)   

4) Early Action:

Colleges allow you to submit by an earlier deadline in order to receive decisions before the regular decision submission deadline arrives. Early action is "non-binding" which means that you are not required to accept the offer and you usually have until May 1 to accept the offer.  However, be careful that your college is not among the few that are "restrictiveor "single choice" which means that they do not allow you to apply early action anywhere else.

Click here to view colleges that take early action applications.

5) Early Decision I and II:

Some colleges allow for early decision applications. Like with early action, applying early decision I allows you to submit by an earlier deadline in order to receive decisions before the regular decision submission deadline arrives. You can still apply to other colleges, but early decision is "binding" which means that your are required to accept the offer. You sign a commitment and it is understood that, if accepted, you will attend. Once accepted by early decision you MUST withdraw all other applications.

If your application is  incomplete by the early decision I deadline, some colleges do offer early decision II which gets reviewed before regular decision applicants. Like early decision I, early decision II is "binding".

Before applying by either early decision I or II, check with the college's financial aid office and be absolutely certain that you will enroll if you are accepted.

Click here to view colleges and universities that accept early decision applications.

Placing the best possible application should be your most important objectiveYour test scores, letters of recommendations, essays, and official transcripts should all be ready before the application deadline. It is unlikely that an incomplete application will be reviewed favorably, or even reviewed at all. 

Some students decide to apply early decision or early action because the rate of acceptance is usually a little higher and the school is their top choice. However, the quality of your application is what is most important. If you can make your application stronger by waiting a few months then apply regular decisionMost students apply regular decision. 

Regardless of the type of application you decide to submit, one month before the deadline you should have already taken SAT/ACT tests and requested transcripts and letters of recommendations. 

One last thing, dates above are "typical" deadline dates. Check the admissions application deadlines on the website of the colleges you are interested in!