Most colleges offer a "Regular Admission" deadline, but most offer other options too. Here is a short explanation of each type and examples of colleges that use them. Remember, deadlines are the LAST day you can submit an application. Don't let your student wait until the last day! 1-3 weeks before a deadline is the way to go.
Early Decision I: This is a binding contract between your student and the college where if they are admitted, they promise to attend. Usually offered by private schools like Tufts and Skidmore. Pros: The admission rate is usually higher because the colleges know that 100% of the accepted students will attend (yield). Cons: You don't know what kind of financial aid package or merit scholarship the college will offer.
Early Action: Non-binding. This just allows colleges to space out the number of applications they get throughout the Fall and Winter. They will let you know their decision well ahead of the regular decision time, usually 4-6 weeks after they receive the application. Offered by many public and private schools.
Rolling: Applications are reviewed as they are submitted by students until the number of available slots are filled. Good to get these apps in early if possible. Offered by some public and private schools like University of Pittsburgh, Hofstra, and Stetson.
Priority: Deadline by which students must apply if they want the best chance for admission (like rolling) and to be considered for merit scholarships. Offered mainly by public schools like Maryland, Indiana, and Ohio State.
Early Decision 2: A relatively new option at private schools like Gettsyburg and Richmond. If a student could not make the early decision 1 deadline or was rejected by their early decision 1 choice, they can apply Early Decision 2, to get another chance at a binding contract to get a better chance at their top choice school.
Regular: This is the main application deadline for anyone who did not apply early decision or early action to this school. Usually after January 1st, this deadline will get a relatively late decision to the student (March or April). Offered at almost all schools. Also allows students to show first semester grades to schools which could help (or hurt) their application.
Lots of options! Any questions? Comment below or call me! Eric