3 Ways to Reduce Early College Deadline Anxiety


Something spooky is approaching next week. Halloween? No, but you are close. As November 1 approaches, many students are preparing to submit college applications for the Early Decision (ED), Early Action (EA), and Restrictive Early Action (REA) deadlines. In case you are not aware, ED, EA, and REA deadlines allow applicants to get their materials reviewed before the Regular Admissions (RA) deadline, often reducing competition while increasing the likelihood of acceptance and better financial aid. Most ED, EA, and REA deadlines are in November, and acceptances and rejections are typically sent out in December. The whole process is enough to make anyone frightened. That’s why B2A's here!

You may be wondering what exactly are the differences between Early Decision, Early Action, and Restrictive Early Action. Early Decision is limited to one school per student, and the student must attend that school if accepted. Early Action has no limits or obligations; you can apply to as many EA schools as you want. Restrictive Early Action is similar to Early Action, but it limits you to only applying to one EA school. Individual schools may have variations to these restrictions, so use these definitions as general guides and verify with colleges before submitting early.

If you are planning on clicking the submit button on Tuesday, hopefully you have completed most of your essays and application materials and now simply need to double check for any errors. The key word, of course, is “hopefully.” In reality, you probably still have some loose ends that need tightening to make a standout application. Here are some recommendations on how to spend these crucial days wisely.

1. Really specify why you want to attend a particular school in the “Why us?” essay.

ED, EA, and REA schools usually want to know why you want to attend, and many students fail to do the most basic research for these questions. To give yourself an easy advantage, do a quick Google search of the university and write about a professor and a class that appeal to your goals. You don’t need to go super in-depth to get the message across that you’ve done your homework. The effort is almost all that’s required.

2. Have a trusted reader proofread your materials one more time.

You probably think that you’ve checked everything a million times, but you’d be amazed at what slips by without another pair of eyes looking for mistakes. Bottom line: don’t rely on yourself to catch errors. Your parents or relatives are great resources for last minute checks. If you can’t find anyone (because maybe you’re not done until 11:30pm), at the very least, print out your materials and read them out loud.

3. Don’t submit a mediocre application to Early deadlines when you can submit a great one for Regular Admissions.

This may be the most important piece of advice. While the benefits of Early deadlines are clear, getting rejected outright is worse. That’s right, if you get rejected for EA, ED, or REA, then you cannot reapply for Regular Admissions. For borderline cases, you will be deferred, which means you can reapply for Regular Admissions. So, if you truly feel like you’re rushing to get your materials together, then take a deep breath, be honest with yourself, and consider waiting to submit.

Need last minute help on your EA, ED, or REA college application? Let B2A help you make those finishing touches with our college admissions services. Our trained and ready staff can ensure that your application is a treat for admissions committees, not trick.

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