Common FAFSA Myths

Posted on: February 6th, 2015

Many colleges require families requesting financial aid to submit their FAFSA within the next few weeks. If you are unsure what FAFSA means, read a previous blog post. Now that you understand this financial aid form, let’s discuss a few popular myths associated with the FAFSA.

MYTH #1: I need to file my taxes before submitting the FAFSA.
• False. A family can submit their FAFSA by providing a reasonable estimate of their 2014 income taxes. The United States Department of Education works with the Internal Revenue Service to help connect a family’s FAFSA information with their tax return once submitted. The earlier the FAFSA is submitted, the sooner the financial aid packages will be sent by schools.

MYTH #2: Families that make too much money should not complete a FAFSA.
• False. There is no income ceiling to prevent a family from qualifying for federal student aid. There are several factors that go into the financial aid report besides money. Information such as size of family and the number of children concurrently in college. According to Sallie Mae, the typical family earning more than $100,000 received $5,451 in grants and scholarships during the 2012 academic year. Also, the FAFSA is only for federal student aid. Colleges can and will give out their own aid, such as merit scholarships. Most schools will require a completed FAFSA in order to award this scholarship. The FAFSA is simply a starting point.

MYTH #3: Colleges only look at what is stated on the FAFSA, though my situation has changed.
• False. The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is only a government recommendation. Parents are encouraged to contact the financial aid office at each college to appeal their financial aid package. This office can make adjustments if there have been changes to a family’s income or assets. Examples of items that may not show up on the FAFSA; loss of a job, using savings to start a new business, medical bills and/or having another child.

MYTH #4: If both parents are divorced and remarried, all of the parents’ information must be entered on the FAFSA.
• False. The information that should be entered on the FAFSA is that of the parent the student has lived with more than 50% of the time within the last 12 months. In addition, if that parent is remarried, that step-parent’s financial information MUST be included along with the student’s tax information, if they filed an income tax. Unfortunately, the student cannot choose to enter the information of the parent/step-parent that makes the least amount of money to secure a lower EFC.

As you can see, all the myths were false. Do not believe everything you hear from people who have completed the FAFSA in the past. If you need correct answers to other college financial aid myths or perhaps have other college admission questions, Contact Us.

Make sure to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for tips and advice.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

2015-16 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Posted on: January 6th, 2015

January 1st was a very important date. Not only did it signal a new year, but it was the date the 2015-16 FAFSA was released. What is the FAFSA? It is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is an annual form produced by the United States Department of Education used to determine a family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for college.

How Does It Work?

The FAFSA is a 103 question form used to determine a family’s EFC for college. Financial information is imputed into a formula developed by the United States Department of Education to determine the EFC. The EFC is then forwarded to up to ten designated colleges to individually determine a student’s financial aid package.

How Does a Family Complete the FAFSA?

The form can be accessed online beginning January 1st of each year and is submitted electronically. A family can opt to print a copy and send it via mail, but this will delay the process 2-4 weeks. The earlier the FAFSA is submitted, the quicker the information is received by each college. The longer a family waits to submit their FAFSA can lead to a college having less financial resources to award to a family.

What Information is Required?

To complete the FAFSA, families will use their completed 2014 IRS Form 1040 for both the parent(s) and the student. Many of the questions ask about specific ‘lines’ on the tax form, such as adjusted gross income and balance of cash (savings and checking account). Other questions request information regarding a family’s net worth (trust funds, stocks, bonds, certificate of deposits, etc…) and the number of children that will be attending college concurrently.

Important Tips

Complete whichever IRS Form 1040 as soon as possible. A parent can estimate their earnings when entering data on the FAFSA. It is imperative to return when taxes are complete to adjust and provide accurate figures. The quicker taxes are filed, the sooner an actual EFC will be calculated. The student will then be closer to the front of the line to receive maximum financial aid award from each college. Make sure not to rush when you are Entering in data. There are an average of 10 errors estimated per form. Remember, the form is free. One should not pay to access a FAFSA website.

In addition, keep as many assets out of the student’s name as possible. This may not be possible if you have a senior in high school. But if you have a junior or younger, make sure to read this crucial information! Student earnings are weighted more heavily than parental assets (nearly 20 cents to the dollar). Why is this? The logic is that a student has saved money for college. Though this might not be the case. Make sure to legally change the location of your high school student’s assets by their 2nd semester of junior year or 1st semester of senior year (the FAFSA uses the previous year’s tax returns remember, not the year they begin attending college). A FAFSA must be submitted each year a student is looking for financial aid; from the first year in college, until the last year of their doctoral program.

If you have any questions or comments about the FAFSA, send us a question via Facebook or contact us.
Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

Prepare for College Over Winter Break

Posted on: December 10th, 2014

After a long semester, your student will have a two week school break. Although there are holidays mixed in, along with the need to prepare for final exams. Here are a few ideas your student can consider over winter break.

Declutter College Material
on how to properly visit a college campus.

Interest Inventories

Perhaps your student has narrowed their college list. The next question; what might they be interested in studying? Not an easy question to pose to a teenager. In order to conduct a proper college search, pairing a major with a college’s academic program can help narrow the field of potential colleges. One way to do this is the take an interest inventory. This survey can be completed either online or from a trained professional. They will learn more about their personality, what skills they possess and how these skills relate to the world of work. This will help generate potential fields of interest to study in college.

Update Resume

Before they forget their accomplishments since August, have your student update their resume. Perhaps your student has yet to create a resume. This is a great time to begin. What should be placed on the resume? A student should place their academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities (sports, clubs and fine art involvement) along with a description, and volunteer or out-of-school involvement. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but once the student begins, it usually does not take long. In addition, you never know when a resume will be needed for a job, internship or scholarship. It is a good life lesson to always have an updated resume on file. Read more on what to add to a resume.

We want to hear your suggestions for winter break activities for college bound high school students, leave a comment.

If you would like to know more about what your student can do over winter break, contact us.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

Estimating College Financial Aid with the Net Price Calculator

Posted on: December 1st, 2014

In an attempt to create college financial aid transparency, the federal government created the Higher Education Opportunity Act. One of the mandates created in this act was the Net Price Calculator. Since 2011, this online tool has provided families the opportunity to estimate the real cost of attendance at every college or university.

Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance to attend a college must be listed on a college’s website. This includes tuition, room/board, books and expenses. Tuition refers to the amount of a money a student pays in order to attend classes and be considered a full time student (usually 12-18 credit hours). Room/Board refers to residing, on campus in an average size, two person dorm room, while being provided an average of 10-14 meals in the school cafeteria. Books refers to the estimated amount a student will spend for their classroom supplies for a particular school year, usually considered $1200. Expenses, also an estimated amount (usually $2500), refers to a student college fees, spending money, personal costs and transportation.

How it Works

Per the government mandate, the NPC must be located on every college website. It is usually found on the financial aid page and can be completed in less than ten minutes. A little hint, questions referring to ‘you’ mean the student. Parents may need to locate their W2 forms or tax returns to complete the calculator. Besides the financial questions, there are additional questions for students, asking for their grade point average, standardized test score(s) and other specific academic questions. The calculator is not difficult to complete, but can ask for a plethora of information. A completed calculator will allow the college to gain a snapshot of a family’s financial situation and provide a ballpark figure of the real cost of attendance.

Discounts

When a family completes the NPC, there will be four types of discounts used to compute the real cost of attendance. Scholarships are awarded for student merit. These can be because of a student’s grade point average and/or ACT/SAT test score. Perhaps a student is being rewarded for other achievements, such as a fine art (art, theatre, or music) or athletics. Students can also receive a grant. These can be from the federal government based upon their financial need, or from the academic institution themselves. Scholarships and grants do not need to be repaid. A student may also receive a discount for the Federal Work-Study program. Here, students are paid to work on campus in return for a portion of their tuition. Examples of some positions are assisting in the admissions office, school cafeteria, or athletic facilities. Lastly, colleges will offer federal or school based loans to students. Click here to read a previous blog post regarding financial aid.

If you would like to learn more about the Net Price Calculator, the cost of a college education, or anything else, contact us.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

The University of Dallas

Posted on: November 17th, 2014

Established in 1956, the The Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business

Located 10 miles northwest of downtown Dallas, the college of business offers many unique opportunities. A new Orange Line DART station was recently built, allowing students public transportation access into Texas’ largest city. This affords students the opportunity to network and intern at many leading Dallas companies. A recent $12 million donation will allow the building of SB Hall, a state of the art business building, to house the AACSB Accredited Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business.

Core Curriculum

In their underclassman years, every UD student enroll in the same 60 credit hours of coursework. These core courses begin with Ancient Greece and Rome, progressing into the thoughts and traditions that built Western culture. The foundation of this curriculum is the Great Books program. Students read and dissect texts that were written by the most influential scholars of history, “from Homer and Virgil, to John Milton and Rene Descartes.” This core curriculum exposes students to a common body of knowledge, allowing professors to teach course across the curriculum. This reading and writing intensive core is equivalent to an Honors College at most schools. After a student completes these required courses, they may declare their major.

Faith Based Campus

83% of students on campus identify as Roman Catholic. Non-Catholics are welcomed and included in the spirituality of campus. The Campus Ministry Department will help students seek out services at churches of their respective denominations. Even though there is a strong spiritual feel on campus, there is no required chapel services or hours as with many religious colleges. The idea of religion and trust is prevalent on campus. During my visit, this included leaving book bags, iPhones and tablets unattended in numerous locations, from outside the church, coffee shop and random hallways.

Roman Experience

In 1970, UD began the tradition of students studying abroad for a semester in Rome. The thought behind sending students (usually sophomores) was to provide them the opportunity to study the Great Books straight at the source, Rome. Included in this unique experience are trips to Greece and Northern Italy. The highlight travel experience is the 10 day break in which students are encourage to explore Europe and/or Asia on their own. This Roman experience has grown the UD study abroad program into a top collegiate program. In 1994, UD remodeled their Italian campus and dedicated it as the Eugene Constantin Rome Campus.

To learn more about the University of Dallas, their unique study abroad program or other colleges, contact us.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

Marietta College

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014

Marietta College, is a picturesque campus located in southeastern Ohio at the mouth of the Muskingum River. This liberal arts college is home to nearly 1500 undergraduates. It is a regionally based college (50% from Ohio, another 25% from Pennsylvania and West Virginia) that is often overlooked for its strong, nationally based programs.

Marietta, Ohio

This Rockwellian town of 14,000 was once on the short list to become the first capital of the United States. In 1788, this first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory, was located in the far western part of the infant country. Named after French queen, Marie Antoinette, Marietta has had its share of historic moments. The town was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. Numerous buildings, including some on campus, can attest to secret rooms or passages for freed slaves. In the 20th century, co-founder of the Marietta based Pure Oil Company, Charles Dawes, served as the 30th Vice-President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge.

Petroleum Engineering

Drawing upon the 1860 discovery of oil in the area, Marietta College is one of only 24 colleges to offer this unique degree. Predominately offered at larger schools located in the oil rich areas of Texas and Oklahoma, this Midwest school offers a vast amount of petroleum in the Ohio Valley.

As the only engineering major on campus, students are still required to complete the full breadth of liberal arts courses. This program is the 10th largest in the nation and the only one at a liberal arts college. As the demand for petroleum engineers continues to rise, this field offers high entry level salaries and nearly 100% job placement for graduates (previous blog post).

All Scholars Day

While visiting this charming campus, I was not able to fully grasp student life as it was “All Scholars Day.” On this day, classes are canceled in order to celebrate the knowledge seniors have acquired over their years on campus. Each senior presents their capstone project to a panel of professors, culminating their knowledge, depth and breadth of their educational experience at Marietta. This is not just a day for seniors, as nearly all undergraduate students attend multiple presentations to support and acquire ideas for their future endeavors.

Baseball Program

One of 18 varsity sports on campus, this nationally known Division III program has had an impact on Major League Baseball. The Pioneers have won six national DIII championships, including back-to-back in 2011-12, the first in over 30 years. The baseball team has had nine players drafted into MLB throughout its history, including relief specialist Kent Tukelve and former manager, Jim Tracy. Perhaps their most famous contribution to MLB is former student, Ban Johnson, founder of the American League and World Series.

If you would like to learn more about Marietta College, or others colleges, please contact us or leave a comment.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

The Blue Streaks of John Carroll University

Posted on: October 13th, 2014

John Carroll University is located about 20 minutes west of Cleveland, Ohio, in University Heights. This Jesuit university, named after the first archbishop of the Catholic Church in the United States, has over 3000 students. On a recent campus visit, this liberal arts university prides itself on offering the ‘iTunes generation’ a little bit of everything because not every student fits into a particular mold.

Boler School of Business

The most prestigious program on campus, the Boler School of Business is an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) institution. In addition, the Boler School maintains the independent Accountancy accreditation, placing the school in the same category as only 11% of all collegiate business programs in the United States.

Another unique aspect of the Boler School is their commitment to the core values of Jesuit education: leadership and service. There are four Centers for Professional Development available to students. Students can choose from expanding their interest of entrepreneurship, developing leadership skills, corporate social responsibility internship programs and a lecture series featuring an area CEO.

Enrollment Managers

John Carroll University provides families with the experience of working with an Enrollment Manager. Unique to JCU, this means families will speak with one person regarding enrollment, scholarship opportunities and financial aid throughout the college process. This one stop approach omits many miscommunications between offices while providing families with timely and proper responses to questions or concerns. This unique concept helps the family and the school develop a relationship with JCU, even prior to the students arrival on campus.

Liberal Arts Core Curriculum

In the fall of 2015, JCU will introduce their new liberal arts core curriculum. This new academic strategy lowers the core curriculum requirements from 54 to 42 credit hours. This does not mean less coursework for students, but the opportunity for professors to teach courses across the curriculum, while also potentially fulfilling graduation credits in a student’s major. This will also provide students the opportunity to expand their educational intellect through a true liberal arts educational experience. Though over 40% of JCU students either double major or minor, the goal is to increase the number of students double majoring or adding a minor by graduation, potentially increasing their value to future employers.

Jesuit Educational Values

John Carroll University was founded in 1886 by the Society of Jesuits on the concept of educating the student as a whole. The Jesuit Educational Values of intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical development are still evident at JCU. The college’s core value and mission emphasizes social justice and service to the community and the broader world. The school was founded on Jesuit and Roman Catholic beliefs, the campus welcomes people from all faiths.

If you would like to learn more about John Carroll University, or other colleges, please contact us or leave a comment.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

Emerging College Application Trends

Posted on: October 13th, 2014

During the past few college application seasons, new trends have begun to emerge. Some of these trends are part of the evolution of the college application while others are simply gaining more popularity with colleges. It also seems that as one college amends their application, other comparable colleges oftentimes implement similar changes.

Self Reporting Grades

As paper applications are retired and applications are completed online, a few extra mouse clicks mean applying to multiples colleges (see Common Application below). To prevent an abundance of paperwork, colleges are allowing ‘Self Reporting Grades.’ Colleges empower students to report their academic grades. As students apply to an increased number of schools, the number of applications per school grows, creating less time to review applications. Allowing students to report their own grades creates a more efficient process for all involved. Of course, the student’s honesty is expected as transcripts are eventually sent prior to final admission. Yet, schools have seen few circumstances of students falsifying grades.

Holistic Review

A Holistic Review is when an admissions office reviews a candidate’s entire application to determine acceptance. Many factors are considered, such as: grades, standardized test schools, rigor of high school courses attempted, Advance Placement courses, extracurricular activities and leadership positions held.

An increasing number of colleges are turning to holistic review, especially smaller, more competitive schools, in order to hand pick an ideal freshmen class. This allows colleges to diversify their student body and ensure the needs of the school are met. This could mean anything from selecting conservative students on a liberal campus, admitting students from underrepresented states to a sousaphone player for the band. This method controls the creation of the ideal freshmen class, while not restricting itself to standardized test scores and grades.

Common Application

One large reason colleges review applicants holistically is due to the Common Application. This application is used by 548 college and universities worldwide. Schools who agree to use this application agree to review a student holistically, not simply through academics.
Students complete a ‘common’ core of questions regarding their academic background, along with their extracurricular activities. Students will also upload documents such as letters of recommendation and transcripts. Lastly, applicants are expected to answer one of the five essay prompts. Once complete, students can submit an application to numerous colleges at once. Colleges may add additional questions, or even a supplemental essay to the application, ranging from one to seven questions. An increasing number of schools are using this application system, as it is growing in size (31 new schools added in 2014). For more information on the Common App, read this blog post.

Test Optional

As schools are moving to holistically reviewing student applications, an increasing number of colleges are moving away from ‘gross’ numbers by becoming test optional. This means, for various reasons, students may choose to report their standardized test results to the school. If a student chooses not to report their ACT or SAT scores, colleges have less information to review. This creates a stronger emphasis on information such as grade point average, rigorous course work outstanding extracurricular activities and a dynamic college essay to showcase the entire student’s body of work.

If you are interested in any of these topics or have other questions, please leave a comment for discussion. If you would like to know more information regarding any of these points, please contact us.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

The Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame

Posted on: August 6th, 2014

The University of Notre Dame is one of three colleges located just outside of South Bend, Indiana. It boasts to being the most “National university in the United States,” because students travel an average of 850 miles to attend. This top liberal arts college and research institution is home to nearly 8000 undergraduate students.

Roman Catholicism

The geographically diverse campus is also proudly Roman Catholic, with 80% of all student self-identifying with Catholicism and 93% of a Christian faith. Founded by the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1842, Notre Dame du Lac (French for “Our Lady of the Lake”) has a multitude of religious statues, murals and aspects throughout campus. These include the eight story high The Word of Life mural on the Hesburgh Library (“Touchdown Jesus” for football fans) and famed Notre Dame Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes. Though, being Catholic is not required for attendance, the university boasts the largest Campus Ministry office in the entire United States while celebrating over 100 Catholic masses a week in one of the 57 chapels throughout campus. For football fans, the Notre Dame Basilica celebrates mass a half hour after the end of each home football game.

Residence Hall Life

When fellow alums meet for the first time, the first question usually asked is, “what dorm did you live in?” Living in one of the 29 dorms on campus helps to create an identity for students, especially since Greek life is non-existent on campus. Students create their sense of dorm identity by competing in interdorm competitions (such as intramural sports), celebrate mass in their individual dorm chapel or participate student dorm government. The dorm culture is so strong that 80% of all undergraduate students live in dormitories all four years on campus.

Mendoza College of Business

One of the five colleges in the university, the Mendoza College of Business is ranked among the top five business schools of U.S. colleges by various sources, including #1 by Bloomsburg Businessweek for five consecutive years. Established in 1921, this prestigious college offers six undergraduate degrees and four graduate degree programs. Upon completing the unique First Year of Studies program, business majors enter the Mendoza College their sophomore year. Starting with the 2014 college application season, first year applicants will mark this college’s preference as a course of study, thus being “pre-approved” for admission into Mendoza upon meeting first year studies requirements.

The School of Architecture

The School of Architecture was formed in 1899 and was the first Catholic university to award this degree in 1898. The smallest of the six colleges in the university, this five year program requires all juniors enroll in The Rome Studies Program. This 3rd year program provides students the opportunity to study sustainable architecture and urbanism while living in Rome, Italy. Upon return to campus, fourth and fifth year students will take their experiential learning and apply it to American city planning and eventually their individually chosen thesis project.

To learn more about the Fightin’ Irish of Notre Dame or how to apply for admission to this highly selective college, contact us.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting

How Will You Apply to College?

Posted on: July 28th, 2014

Applying to college has changed dramatically the past 15 years. In addition to no longer using paper applications, colleges have created different application decisions and deadlines.

Early Decision (ED)

Early Decision is a binding agreement between the student, parents, school counselor and college. The contract stipulates that if offered admission, the student will withdraw all other applications and accept admission into that school.

A student would apply ED to a college if they knew it was their absolute top choice, especially at a school in which they might not be the strongest applicant. The ED applicant pool is much smaller than the Regular Decision pool. This allows for students to be compared with a fewer number of applicants, as only ED applications are compared, thus increasing a student’s chance of admission. It can hurt a student if the student does not stand out amongst other applicants.

Early Action (EA)

This application deadline allows students to apply earlier to a particular college/university, usually on the first of November. In return, colleges agree to act on their application earlier, by the end of the calendar year. This is a plus for students because they will learn earlier if they are accepted to college. If denied or deferred, this provides additional time to reassess their college applications. As with ED, schools only compare EA applications when admitting students. Colleges again, prefer the EA process because they are able to accept a particular amount of students which will many times increase the probability of students accepting admission.

Restrictive/Single Choice Early Action

This is a newer entry into the college application process, generally seen in a highly selective college. This application option will allow students to apply ‘early’ to one college. The difference between this option and ED is that there is no binding acceptance agreement. Students ethically agree not to apply ED or EA to other colleges, in hopes of an early acceptance from a highly selective college. Once a student receives notification, they are free to apply to other colleges.

Regular Decision (RD)

This is the standard option for a student application. Some schools will offer a ‘rolling admissions’ option in RD. This means that schools will notify students days or weeks upon receiving a completed application. Other schools will notify students in the applicant pool on one date later in the application process (around March or April 1st).

TIPS: Always remember to pay attention to deadlines. Students should also pay attention to all aspects of their application files to ensure they are complete, such as letters of recommendations, essay supplements, fees, etc… Missing a deadline or a component of your file might mean missing out on an opportunity to attend the school of your choice.

There are more pluses and minuses to the application processes, contact us to learn which option is best for you.

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting