Regular Decision Programs request that students submit their applications usually around January 1st. Students who apply regular decision may be admitted, denied, or placed on a waiting list. Most students will apply Regular Decision. The college reviews the applications and informs applicants of the decisions in the spring. Students then will need to send in a deposit and agreement to attend by May 1.
Early Action Programs typically require students to submit applications 6 to 8 weeks before the regular decision deadline. Applicants applying EA have the benefit of receiving a decision up to five months before regular decision applicants. Some colleges have restrictive or single choice early action meaning that they may, for example, not allow EA applicants to apply to any other schools early. Each school has its own restrictions, so be sure to check with each school on its policy. Schools with unrestricted early action permit students to apply early decision or early action to any number of colleges. Colleges and universities can choose to accept, defer, or deny an early action applicant. An accepted student has been admitted to college, a deferred student has had their application moved to the regular decision round of applications and will be reevaluated, and a denied student has been rejected from the college.
Early Admissions Programs allow talented high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to attend college without receiving a high school diploma. These programs can be excellent for high school students who are unchallenged yet mature enough to transition to college before many of their peers.
Rolling Admissions Programs admit students on a continual, or rolling, basis. This means that the school will make admissions decisions every few weeks and stop accepting applications once space in the given class has filled. Schools with rolling admissions usually accept and reject some applicants in the window in which they apply; however they will oftentimes hold applications for several rounds before making a decision.
Open Admissions allow any student with a high school diploma or GED certificate to attend; any student who has completed high school has the opportunity to pursue a college degree. The reality isn’t quite so simple. At four-year colleges, students are sometimes guaranteed admission if they meet minimum test score and GPA requirements. In these situations, a four-year college often collaborates with a community college so that students who don’t meet the minimum requirements can still begin their college educations.
Also, guaranteed admission to an open admission college doesn’t always mean that a student can take courses. If a college has too many applicants, students may find themselves waitlisted for some if not all courses. This scenario has proven all too common in the current economic climate.
TeachME's College Resources: https://www.teachme.center/college-admissions-resources