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College Admission Definitions

Regular Decision

You submit an app by a specified date and receive a decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time. You may apply to other schools without restriction.

Rolling Admissions

Rolling Admissions means a school reviews apps as they are completed and gives decisions throughout the admissions cycle. You may apply to other schools without restriction.


Applying early for college means you’ll be among the first round of students considered. So not only will there be more space available for you, you’ll also leave a good impressions on the admissions staff by proving you can get your application materials together in a quick and timely fashion.

Early Decision

Early Decision is a binding application, which means that if you get accepted, then you HAVE to attend that college and you must withdraw all of your other applications. You should only apply Early Decision if you are absolutely sure that you will attend that college if you're accepted and if the cost of attending is no problem.

Early Decision II

Early Decision II is essentially identical to Early Decision in that it is a binding early-decision process but with later deadlines. In general, the application deadline is the same as for the regular admissions process, but a decision is sent far sooner, usually in early February. It typically works best when visits and/or further thought, after deadlines for Early Decision, lead students to be sure that a given school is their clear first choice.

Early Action

Early Action plans are similar to Early Decision plans, but are not binding. If accepted, you can choose to commit to the college immediately, or wait until the spring. Under these plans, you may also apply Early Action to other colleges. Usually, candidates have until the late spring to let the college know their decision.

Restrictive Early Action

Restrictive Early Action means you apply to a school and receive a decision well in advance of its regular response date. Institutions with Restrictive Early Action plans usually place limitations on your application to other early plans (check with your choice school for details). If you are admitted under Restrictive Early Action, you're not obligated to accept the offer or submit an early deposit.