Should I Apply To College Early?

Are you having a hard time deciding whether or not you should apply early to college?  In this post, I’ll share some of the common reasons that high school students decide to apply early, as well as some reasons why some high school students have concerns about some early admission programs.

Admission Rates for Early Admission Programs

The admission rates for students who apply through a college’s early admissions program tend to be higher than the admission rates for students who apply through the regular admissions program.  Studies have found this to be particularly true for some of the more selective colleges.

Critics speculate that this does not necessarily mean that it is “easier” to get admitted through a college’s early admission program, than their regular admissions program.  Instead, it is believed that admission rates are higher for the following three reasons.


Students who apply early usually match the institution’s admissions requirements really well.  Most times, students who decide to apply early to a specific college or university are generally applying because they are fairly confident that this particular school would be a good fit for them.  Since this is usually the case, they are generally admitted.


Students who apply early can only submit their transcripts through the end of junior year.  Therefore, these students likely have strong GPAs that can clearly prove to the admission committees that they are ready for college-level courses, without them having to see their senior year courses or grades.


Some student athletes choose to apply through a college’s early admissions program to demonstrate their commitment to a particular sports coach.  In some cases, the coach can be an inside advocate for the student.

So, if you fit in one of the three buckets described above, then maybe you should consider applying early.

Concerns about Early Admission Programs

Some early admission programs bind students to a particular university.  If a student applies through an “early decision” program, then they are making a commitment to the university that, if accepted, they will attend.  A lot of critics feel that this is too large of a restriction to put on a seventeen or eighteen year old student.

Additionally, student who are accepted under the “early decision” program are unable to compare their financial aid offers from different colleges.

However, there are other early admission programs, like “early action” programs, that allow student the flexibility to choose whether or not they want to attend, even though they have been accepted “early.”

Nowadays, a lot of schools are moving away from “early decision” programs and are either going “early action” programs or moving to a single application deadline for all applicants.

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.


Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

Latest posts by TheCollegeHelper (see all)