Many colleges offer students the opportunity to apply for early admission. This is a process whereby students who are very certain of which college they wish to attend may be able to get the whole process completed well in advance of the usual time; they avoid the rush, so to speak. The advantage to the student is that the college application process is cut to one application only, thus saving time, money, and aggravation. The student is also likely to have an earlier claim on available scholarship funds at the college. The college gains by being able to process applications before the real crunch time for them and by having the certainty that the student is really serious about attending.
There are trade-offs, of course. If for some reason the college does not accept the student, there may be no back-up plan for any other school. Usually this is not a problem, since the deadline for regular admission is late enough that the student is able to apply elsewhere. The other drawback for the student is that he is expected to hold off on applying to other schools until the early decision has been made. This could result in other applications going late to the second choice colleges.
The usual deadline for early admission falls in October or November, so plan accordingly if early admission is the route you decide to take.
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