Admission methods change from one college to the next. For degree candidates, the selection process will be more thorough than for non-degree candidates. Most colleges assume that degree candidates will enter in the fall term, and the selection process becomes a yearly cycle, in one of three ways: rolling, regular or early. The college search can be a stressful experience, be sure to take time to evaluate your choices. DON'T RUSH IT!
Rolling admission programs set a date when the college will begin accepting applications [usually in December or January]. Like "first-come, first-served", rolling admission applications are reviewed as they are received, and are decided upon within 4 - 6 weeks. There is no specific application or notification deadline - but it is advantageous to apply earlier rather than later.
Regular admission refers to colleges that set a specific date when applications are due [usually January or February], and they set a notification date as well [usually in April] In this way, the selection committee can review the whole applicant pool at the same time, rather than person by person as in rolling admission.
There are two kinds of early programs: early action and early decision. Early decision involves a commitment on the student's part - so that if accepted, the student is automatically matriculated. The student applies in the fall [usually November] and hears within a month. This program is only for students who know this is the school they want to attend and can afford. Early action, on the other hand, does not involve that commitment. The student accepted under early action programs has until late spring to notify the school whether or not he/she will attend.
In both early admission programs, students can be accepted [generally it is very competitive], rejected [usually only those who clearly would not be accepted in regular action], or deferred. Deferred students are automatically reviewed in the spring with the "regular" pool and colleges often accept additional information to update the deferred student's application.
- Early Decision Applications must be complete by November 1.
- Academy and ROTC Applications by October 15.