The Different Types of College Admission Deadlines

college application deadlines

In the world of college applications, words like “early decision,” “priority deadline” and “rolling deadline” can make a high school senior’s head spin. Understanding the major types of admission deadlines can be helpful as you consider college options, so let’s take a look at some:

Early Decision

An early decision deadline is typically in the fall of your senior year. This kind of deadline is very similar to “early action,” with one big difference: an early decision application is binding. That means if you choose to apply for early decision and you are awarded admission, then you have committed to going to that school. You must withdraw your applications at other schools, and enroll in the one you chose. You only apply early decision for one school, and it should be the one at the top of your list.

Early Action

Early action is the less-intense version of the early decision deadline above. With this admission deadline, you still submit your application early in your senior year, but if you are admitted, you still have time to decide whether to enroll in that school.

Single Choice Early Action

This deadline is very similar to early action in that it is non-binding and on an earlier timeframe. However much like early decision, single choice means you can only apply to one school on the early action application. This shows a greater interest in the school than a regular early action application, which can win you points in the admissions process. Not many colleges offer this type of application deadline, but for those that do, it’s worth considering.

Regular Decision

This is the default application deadline. Typically, due in the preceding January or February for the fall semester of that same year, these are non-binding and available at most institutions. Students will usually receive their decisions by April and be required to respond by May.

Rolling Admission

This type of admission allows students to apply at any time up until a certain date (for example, until July 1). Under rolling admission, the application remains open and students are admitted as long as there are spots in the program. This type of admission is non-binding, but you’ll want to get your application in sooner rather than later, because once the college or program fills up, no more applications will be accepted. Many schools actually recommend that you send in your application around the same time as a regular decision application, just to be sure there is space.

The dizzying amount of terms related to college admissions can be enough to make you crazy, but we hope this has shown you that, while the college application process can seem complicated, everything has a really straightforward answer. The most important thing is to ask questions, so you can go into this fully prepared! If you need more help, be sure to visit to use our easy and helpful college application tools.