Many seniors are now finalizing their early applications to a university (or universities) at the top of their college lists. Across institutions there are distinct variations in how admissions offices approach early applications; and, as many seniors now know, there are a wide range of early programs from Early Decision to Early Action to rolling admissions. It is important for seniors and their support networks to familiarize themselves with early admissions processes to be aware of all of their options.
Penn values Early Decision. It is a means for students to express their enthusiasm for the University and a way for our office to recognize this commitment. If you are applying or considering applying through an Early Decision process, review the reminders below:
-Consider the 4 C’s. You should have a clear understanding of your fit or place within the culture, curriculum, and community on campus. With specificity, you should be able to explain how your voice might engage and enhance available opportunities. Become familiar with the conclusions, or outcomes, of current students and put this information into conversation with your own long-term goals.
- Early Decision is a binding process. If you apply Early Decision, you are entering into a contract with the University—you will attend if admitted. If you are deferred or denied, you are released from the Early Decision agreement.
- Early Decision is earlier. This has two primary implications. Early applicants have to prepare their materials for a November 1st deadline. They typically feel confident about their transcript, which will only show grades from freshman through junior years. Early applicants typically are finished with the testing requirements before the fall. They have already asked teachers for recommendations and feel they can write strong essays. The second implication of the Early Decision timeline is that students will be notified of their decisions in mid-December. Be prepared for any outcome. If admitted, you can celebrate and focus on your senior year. For those who are not admitted in December, you have time to send in an application through another school’s Early Decision II process should you choose. You also have time to finalize your Regular Decision applications for other institutions (however you should start these applications before mid-December).
The following notes are specific to those students applying Early December to Penn:
- Penn students receive the same financial aid regardless of whether they apply through the Early or Regular Decision process. All Penn aid is need-based, which means that families will receive a package based on their income, assets, and circumstances, rather than the application cycle in which their student applies.
- We see a very strong early pool. Early Decision applicants are thoughtful in their reasons for applying to Penn and can articulate their fit with the University. Our office is honored to see great accomplishment and skill in this group of students who have identified Penn as their top college choice.
The choice to apply Early Decision is an important one, but one that you are well-equipped to make. Best of luck this fall, and continue to use Page 217 as a resource in your college process.