Today, as many colleges fill about half their freshman class through early admissions, high school students are scrambling to keep up with a changed timetable. Your chances of getting into the school of your choice may dwindle if you wait for the regular admissions deadline.
And there’s money at stake, too, because financial aid options may be different for early admissions. I wrote a detailed article about early admission trends last year.
Now I’d like to explain how you can make sure early admissions doesn’t place you at a disadvantage. The key is to recalibrate the whole timeline of your college search and application process. Once a student starts high school, you can take steps to lower everyone’s stress levels and increase the odds of success. But, no matter what year of school a student is in, it may be necessary to pick up the pace.
Not long ago, high school students and their families who began touring colleges during the spring and summer of junior year could be confident that they were on top of things. Now the summer after junior year is late to begin college visits. I advise students who are thinking about early admission to start their college research—and do at least some visits—during sophomore year.