Senior Advice: Early College Applications

Article by: Richa S.

Edited by: Carmel and Georgia L.

Photograph by: Andy S.

As the semester comes to a close, most students at ISM are winding down and getting ready for a well-deserved break from academics at ICARE. But for some students, the next few weeks hold the most stressful events of the year: for those seniors who applied to college early, admission decisions have begun rolling in.

Although applying early may seem intimidating, it acts as a valuable learning experience as it teaches one the basics “do”s and “don’t”s of applying to college before the regular applications come around. The batch of 2020 will be experiencing the stress of early applications this time next year. In order for them to be more prepared, we asked a few of our current seniors to share their experience and advice on early applications.



What is the difference between Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED)?


U.S. universities have not one but two early deadlines: Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED), which both generally fall on November 1. When asked to highlight the difference between the two, Jayne R. (12) explains that “early decision is binding and shows the school that you’re committed if you apply, and if you get in, you have to go there. Whereas early action is a non-binding commitment, meaning you can apply to multiple EA schools in the case that they are all non-restrictive.” That said, the early decision plan is suitable for applicants certain about attending one particular university, while through the early action plan, students can apply to multiple schools that offer it.

Despite it being stressful, applying early has quite a few benefits. For example, Jayne explains that the early decision and early action plans usually lead to higher acceptance rates, saying that “if you apply early, there is almost a 30% higher chance of getting in because you are competing with a smaller pool of applicants.” Hence, it is essential to take into account that applying early can help boost one’s chances of getting in to their dream university.



What advice do you have for the incoming seniors?


When asked about advice and key takeaways from the early application process, Sam M. (12) admits that “dividing yourself up will not do you any good.” Having learned from his mistake, Sam further explains that “focusing on playing out your best application” instead of juggling three to four applications at once is the way to go.

Moreover, Audrey S. (12) believes that communicating with guidance counselors is the way to go. “The counselors at ISM are all super helpful; they’re the best resource you have when you’re applying to college!” she says.

Finally, Jayne believes that it is important to “limit the people reading your college essays because you’ll get end up getting confused with all the different voices contributing to your work.” Based on what our seniors have said, the best way to approach college applications is by staying focused, communicating with counselors, and relying on a select group of people and your guidance counselor to look over your college essays.


Be sure to stay motivated and optimistic throughout the application process. Best of luck to the Class of 2019!