As spooky as Halloween can be, what may be even scarier are approaching college application deadlines! Non-binding Early Action deadlines for most colleges occur in November and may leave students scrambling to get all documentation in on time. Non-binding Early Action offers a great opportunity for students to submit applications early and learn about admissions decisions before those in the regular decision pool, typically by January 1st. In our "instant gratification" world, it can be so frustrating having to wait until March to find out about admission, so Early Action can be very helpful for students who have a strong transcript through junior year and are ready to apply. Be cautious of the difference between Early Action, which is non-binding and simply allows students to find out an admissions decision earlier than usual, and Early Decision, which is binding and requires students to commit to the Early Decision college if admitted and withdraw applications from other schools.
October also brings a frighteningly awesome new financial aid opening date for the Class of 2017. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened on October 1st for the first time ever, giving families the option to apply for financial aid earlier than ever before. Most admissions offices I have spoken with are aiming for earlier financial aid package release dates as a result of this earlier opening date, with many hoping to release aid packages around the same time Early Decision and Early Action applicants are informed of decisions. We will have to see how it all shakes out, and admissions offices have cautioned these anticipated release dates are goals and not guarantees, but applying for financial aid earlier rather than later can only help students and families with need this year.
If you need help avoiding the tricks of the college admissions process, give yourself a treat and make an appointment with The College Scout today!
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