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The Road To College: Dealing With More Deadlines

Last week we considered issues of whether or not students should apply by Nov. 1, under Early Decision, Early Action, or Early Notification plans. This week there are more deadlines to discuss, as seniors weigh their options, and parents and guardians try to monitor the process.
The first thing to make clear is that Nov. 1 is not the only time a college or university may offer an Early Decision, Early Action, or Early Notification plan. The usual practice is to set the deadlines at the first and the 15th (the latter being what students of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” will recall as the “ides” of the month); thus some institutions are offering Early Decision in two weeks, on Nov. 15, and others Early Action, on Dec. 1. One outlier is High Point University with an EA deadline of Nov. 8. I can only guess that their idiosyncratic deadline is meant to set them apart.
With all of these different permutations, students need to check the institution’s own website carefully to make sure they have the right deadlines and the right forms, headed to the right places the right ways at the right times. (Say that three times fast).
The reality is that deadlines do sometimes change from one year to the next, and information on websites such as www.collegeboard.com and in guidebooks such as the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” is derivative, not original; moreover, in the case of a text like Fiske, the time lag between editing and publishing can allow for a college to change its deadline in a way that won’t make print. Students are well-advised to check carefully on the smallest details.
Regarding the right forms, there are really three main ways to file applications these days: electronically via the Common Application (www.commonapp.org); electronically through another system, perhaps one unique to that particular institution; or via “old school” pieces of paper sent in the mail of one sort or another.
Applicants need to check carefully to make sure they have the different forms they need to file, either online or in hard copy; moreover, there are commonly Secondary School Report, Counselor Report, Teacher Recommendation or Transcript Request forms that need to be filled out and returned as well. Where hard copies are sought, students need to download the forms, print them out, fill out the top portion and get them to their counselor and/or the teachers who are writing their recommendation letters. The sooner counselors and teachers have what they need, the better.
Success in the college process thus often goes to the best-organized student, because there are so very many details, and forms, to track. Last year, a senior from Charlotte Amalie High School impressed me with the most organized loose-leaf binder of application materials that I have ever seen. She was accepted everywhere she applied, and is a student now at Denison University. It doesn’t matter what sort of filing system a student adopts, but anyone who is going to manage multiple applications over the next few months is well-advised to think about how to organize everything.
With some, but not all, Early Decision, Early Action and Early Notification deadlines behind us, and others yet to come, it is also the case that Regular Decision deadlines and Rolling Decision opportunities will start, then continue, for some time to come. Regular Decision begins in most cases around Jan. 1, with the most selective institutions in the United States having deadlines right at the turn of the calendar year. Regular Decision deadlines carry no special commitments and result in answers that usually come back in March or early April. Rolling Decision, when offered, means that applications are read as they are completed; applicants will then get decisions within two, four or six weeks of completing their application, depending on the college. In the cases of Regular Decision, Rolling Decision, Early Action and Early Notification, students do not need to make their matriculation decision and need only do so in time to put down their enrollment deposit before May 1.
Finally, having addressed the issue of the Early Decision precommitment-to-attend-if-accepted dilemma last week, I do also want to note that some colleges and universities have Early Decision II opportunities, with deadlines as late as Jan. 15. Clearly, such a deadline, coming after many Regular Decision deadlines, is hardly “Early.” The salient word is “Decision” because the precommitment to attend again requires the student, a parent or guardian, and the counselor to sign and date an agreement that states “Take Me And I’m Yours.”
If the cliché has it that “the devil is in the details,” the admissions heaven may only be available to those who spend a good deal of time in the nether regions of this process.
Chris Teare is the College Counselor at Antilles School. His scheduled guest this week on Making the College Choice on AM 1000, Wednesday at 4 p.m. is UVI President David Hall.
Another opportunity to prepare for the Dec. 4 SAT and Dec. 11 ACT is starting at Antilles School this week, in plenty of time to help students willing to work. Those interested in learning more should contact either Laura Hahn at 513-9847 for SAT or Dana Thomas at 727-642-6775 for ACT.

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Last week we considered issues of whether or not students should apply by Nov. 1, under Early Decision, Early Action, or Early Notification plans. This week there are more deadlines to discuss, as seniors weigh their options, and parents and guardians try to monitor the process.
The first thing to make clear is that Nov. 1 is not the only time a college or university may offer an Early Decision, Early Action, or Early Notification plan. The usual practice is to set the deadlines at the first and the 15th (the latter being what students of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” will recall as the “ides” of the month); thus some institutions are offering Early Decision in two weeks, on Nov. 15, and others Early Action, on Dec. 1. One outlier is High Point University with an EA deadline of Nov. 8. I can only guess that their idiosyncratic deadline is meant to set them apart.
With all of these different permutations, students need to check the institution’s own website carefully to make sure they have the right deadlines and the right forms, headed to the right places the right ways at the right times. (Say that three times fast).
The reality is that deadlines do sometimes change from one year to the next, and information on websites such as www.collegeboard.com and in guidebooks such as the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” is derivative, not original; moreover, in the case of a text like Fiske, the time lag between editing and publishing can allow for a college to change its deadline in a way that won’t make print. Students are well-advised to check carefully on the smallest details.
Regarding the right forms, there are really three main ways to file applications these days: electronically via the Common Application (www.commonapp.org); electronically through another system, perhaps one unique to that particular institution; or via “old school” pieces of paper sent in the mail of one sort or another.
Applicants need to check carefully to make sure they have the different forms they need to file, either online or in hard copy; moreover, there are commonly Secondary School Report, Counselor Report, Teacher Recommendation or Transcript Request forms that need to be filled out and returned as well. Where hard copies are sought, students need to download the forms, print them out, fill out the top portion and get them to their counselor and/or the teachers who are writing their recommendation letters. The sooner counselors and teachers have what they need, the better.
Success in the college process thus often goes to the best-organized student, because there are so very many details, and forms, to track. Last year, a senior from Charlotte Amalie High School impressed me with the most organized loose-leaf binder of application materials that I have ever seen. She was accepted everywhere she applied, and is a student now at Denison University. It doesn’t matter what sort of filing system a student adopts, but anyone who is going to manage multiple applications over the next few months is well-advised to think about how to organize everything.
With some, but not all, Early Decision, Early Action and Early Notification deadlines behind us, and others yet to come, it is also the case that Regular Decision deadlines and Rolling Decision opportunities will start, then continue, for some time to come. Regular Decision begins in most cases around Jan. 1, with the most selective institutions in the United States having deadlines right at the turn of the calendar year. Regular Decision deadlines carry no special commitments and result in answers that usually come back in March or early April. Rolling Decision, when offered, means that applications are read as they are completed; applicants will then get decisions within two, four or six weeks of completing their application, depending on the college. In the cases of Regular Decision, Rolling Decision, Early Action and Early Notification, students do not need to make their matriculation decision and need only do so in time to put down their enrollment deposit before May 1.
Finally, having addressed the issue of the Early Decision precommitment-to-attend-if-accepted dilemma last week, I do also want to note that some colleges and universities have Early Decision II opportunities, with deadlines as late as Jan. 15. Clearly, such a deadline, coming after many Regular Decision deadlines, is hardly “Early.” The salient word is “Decision” because the precommitment to attend again requires the student, a parent or guardian, and the counselor to sign and date an agreement that states “Take Me And I’m Yours.”
If the cliché has it that “the devil is in the details,” the admissions heaven may only be available to those who spend a good deal of time in the nether regions of this process.
Chris Teare is the College Counselor at Antilles School. His scheduled guest this week on Making the College Choice on AM 1000, Wednesday at 4 p.m. is UVI President David Hall.
Another opportunity to prepare for the Dec. 4 SAT and Dec. 11 ACT is starting at Antilles School this week, in plenty of time to help students willing to work. Those interested in learning more should contact either Laura Hahn at 513-9847 for SAT or Dana Thomas at 727-642-6775 for ACT.