Being a senior in high school comes with many decisions, especially when it comes to the college application process. First, you must decide what you plan to study and which school(s) you would like to attend. After you decide on a major and a college, you must check their admission requirements including standardized test scores and class ranking. You have to make sure that you meet the admission criteria and then you must fill out a college application which often includes an essay and reference letters. Once you have made it to this step in the process, you are probably exhausted. Yet, you still have scholarships to apply for and living arrangements to make. One potentially complicated part of the college application process may be figuring out which college application deadline is right for you. Colleges and universities often provide multiple deadlines for applications which may be confusing. Find out which college application deadline is right for you so that you can submit your college application appropriately. If you still feel overwhelmed after reading our helpful tips, please contact us so we can offer additional guidance.

College Application Deadline

Early Decision

Early decision (ED) is for students who are confident that they want to attend one particular college. Early decision applicants must attend the college if they are accepted; thus, only do one ED application and only do an ED application if you are absolutely sure that you can commit to attending that college if you are accepted (don’t forget to think about the financial aspect). ED applicants usually apply to their top-choice college/university in November and usually find out if they are accepted by December. By submitting an ED application to one college, you may still apply to other colleges via a regular admission plan. You are required to withdraw the regular admission application if your ED application is accepted. If this is the case, you must also be prepared to pay a nonrefundable deposit to the college that accepted your ED application. Only do an ED application if you have extensively researched colleges and are committed to attending a particular college. Make sure that you meet or exceed the admission criteria for the school to which you plan to submit an ED application.

Early Action

Early action (EA) differs from ED since it is nonbinding. Unlike ED, EA allows students to apply early andDeadline
get a notification from the college about whether they were accepted or not by January or February. Students who apply EA to one school are still regular admission plan. Students who plan to do an EA application should also thoroughly research colleges and be sure that they meet the outlined admission criteria of the college to which they are applying. allowed to apply to other colleges using an EA or

Some colleges offer an EA II which is for students who miss the first EA deadline and want to apply before the regular application deadline. The EA II applications are usually due in January with responses from the college in four to eight weeks depending on the college. Applying EA is beneficial for students who have a superb resume and want to increase their chances of being accepted to a particular school before the regular admission date rolls around.

Single-Choice Early Action

Single-choice early action (SCEA) is offered at some schools which permits students to apply EA to one college only. SCEA has specific guidelines that are unique to each college and should be reviewed for specific criteria. Generally, SCEA students may only apply EA to colleges outside of the US, non-binding rolling admission programs, or they may apply regular admission to as many schools as they choose.

Rolling Admission

Rolling admission (RA) is a program that is usually offered at large public colleges which allows students to apply and be evaluated as the applications are received. Applications will continue to be accepted and evaluated until all of the slots on that campus are filled. RA programs are non-binding and are helpful since they allow students to simultaneously apply EA, ED or SCEA to other colleges if the students desires.

ResumeRegular Decision

Regular decision (RD) is best for the student who is undecided about where he or she wants to attend and what he or she wants to study. RD allows the student plenty of time to decide on where to apply, get the desired ACT or SAT score, get involved in extracurricular activities, and maintain a high GPA. Having more time to finish the application process and to put together the best academic profile are some of the perks that RD students have.

It is imperative to understand the individual college application deadline requirements for college applications in order to submit your application appropriately. Take some time to reflect on what colleges interest you so that you can determine which college application deadline is right for you. At The Brain Domain, we offer college counseling, test preparation, and one-on-one tutoring services to help students prepare for college. If your resume needs some polishing, your essay needs some editing,  or your test scores need to increase before you submit your application(s), please contact us for an initial consultation and to be paired with one our outstanding tutors.


Shaevitz, M. (n.d.). Understanding Early Action, Early Decision, Restricted Early Action and Rolling Admission. Retrieved from
College Board. (n.d.). Early Decision & Early Action. Retrieved from