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A Quick and Easy Way to Optimize Your College Applications

Applying to colleges often seems complicated and daunting. From simply choosing the right schools to the arduous task of preparing all your materials, every step of the application process poses its own challenge. What many students will struggle with is figuring out where to start—how to best approach their applications. On October 17th, EliteLink Education welcomed guest speaker Kyle Graham. According to the current Associate Head of School at Poly Prep Country Day School, it boils down to understanding what it is that colleges are truly looking for.

Kyle Graham speaks to EliteLink students on college application cycles.

It’s important to keep in mind that these institutions are first and foremost businesses. In other words, it’s a numbers game. The number of applications a school receives every year, the number of applicants that are accepted each cycle, and even the demographics of the applicants all contribute to a college’s statistical standings. Students can appeal to a school’s desire to obtain competitive numbers by taking advantage of the different application cycles. Generally, schools offer multiple application deadlines distinguished by varying levels of commitment: early decision I, early decision II, early action, restrictive early action, and regular decision.

Understanding the pros and cons of each application cycle is a crucial, and often overlooked, aspect of optimizing your college applications.

Early Decision Is Your Secret Weapon

One of the biggest statistics colleges prioritize is their yield rate; the percentage of accepted applicants that actually choose to attend that school. With early decision I and II, admissions are binding. This means that upon applying, students sign a contract stating that should they be accepted, they are required to attend that school. Students who apply during early decision cycles are often more appealing as their ensured commitment upon acceptance helps protect the school’s yield rate.

Image Credit: iStock

Early Action Is The Best Of Both Worlds

Early action plans also have their benefits. Though neither early action nor restrictive early action are binding, they’re still good ways to demonstrate higher levels of interest, another factor schools will take into consideration. Applying early action also means that students will receive their decisions sooner, allowing them more time to weigh their options and decide on the best course of action.

Stay On Top Of Regular Decision

Aside from schools that offer rolling admissions, regular decision is the latest deadline for most colleges. Regular decision is both non-restrictive and non-binding, so students can apply to as many colleges as they’d like with minimal pressure. This is a good opportunity to squeeze in any last minute schools, especially in case the early decision and early action cycles didn’t go as planned. Ultimately, it’s important that students take advantage of every application cycle in order to maximize their chances at admissions.

EliteLink Education thanks Mr. Kyle Graham for his time and his expertise and invites you to join us next time for more insider tips and tricks.

Which application cycle is right for you?

  • Early Decision

  • Early Action

  • Regular Decision

  • All three!

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