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A Consumer's Guide to the Admission Process

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.

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 advanta-geous to apply earlier rather than later.

Regular admission refers to colleges which set a specific date when applications are due (usually January or February), and they set a notification date as well (usually in early May.) 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.

Early admission programs are designed for students who are certain of their first choice college. The student applies in the fall (usually November) and hears within a month. 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. 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 up-date the deferred student's application.

Article supplied by College Planning Network.

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