Home Study Types of College Admissions Explained

Types of College Admissions Explained

by Angela Xu

Ahhh… fall. Apple orchards, pumpkin patches, colorful leaves, and for high school seniors… it’s college apps season! Which is quite a lot more complicated than pumpkin carving or visiting a cider mill, so here is all the types of different college admissions, explained:

Regular Decision (RD)

This is the most common type of admissions process for students applying to colleges. The deadline for submission varies for each specific college, but they will usually be between November and January. After applications are reviewed, decisions are all sent on the same day (usually end of March)

Rolling admission

Unlike other admission processes, rolling admissions do not have a deadline. Colleges that offer rolling admissions will evaluate applications as they are received instead of waiting to evaluate all applicants after a deadline. Schools will continue to evaluate applications until they’ve filled all the slots for their incoming class.

Early Admissions Options

First of all, why should you apply early? You’d have less time to prepare your application right?

That is true: you will have to finish your application several months earlier than if you were to do regular admission; however, there are many perks to applying early. For one, you will be a lot less stressed for the remainder of your senior year. Second, you will also be competing against a much smaller pool of applicants. 

If you have one or two schools that are your dream colleges, you should definitely consider applying early through one of these options! 

Early Decision (ED)

Under this admissions program, if accepted you must agree to attend this school (in other words, it is binding). Therefore, you are not allowed to apply to any other college or university. If you receive an acceptance letter, you must withdraw any other applications to other schools. You can only apply ED to one school, so you should be absolutely sure about attending that college. In many cases, applying ED boosts your chances of getting in significantly. 

There are two types of Early Decisions: I and II, and the main difference is just the deadlines:

  • ED I: the deadline is typically November 1, and you should have the results by mid-December
  • ED II: this is essentially a second chance at early action if you didn’t get in during ED I. The deadline for most schools is January 1, with results being released mid-February

Early Action (EA)

Similar to ED, you should only apply EA to a few of your top-choice schools. However, you are not bound to attend if accepted and you can apply early action to more than one university. You can accept the school’s offer either as soon as you receive it or wait to make your final selection in the spring (after you know your RD results)

Restrictive Early Action (REA/SCEA)

Restrictive early action (also called single-choice early action) is another early admissions option. Students applying through this program will sign an agreement that indicates that the college they are applying to is their first-choice school and that it is the only school they are applying to early. However, students can still apply to other schools through either regular or rolling admissions.

If you want to know the dates and deadlines for these admissions processes for a specific school, visit this web page: College Application Deadlines for the Top 50: Every Date That You Need to Know


Finally, if you want tips and advice on the college application process, watch our webinar “How to Stand Out to Colleges” featuring three mYe alumni as panelists. In 2 hours, they shared incredibly insightful advice on extracurriculars, essays, scholarships, and more!

The recording of the seminar can be found below:

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