The One Thing You MUST Do After Applying Early Decision or Early Action

After all those applications, there's still one thing you must do afterwards

Source: Flickr user CollegeDegrees360.


As November 1 has now come and gone, many of you must have filed your first college application(s), applying either early decision or early action. Others of you will join this club on November 15th.

If you’re like most high school seniors, you will hit send on that first college application(s) and breathe a humongous sigh of relief. As you have no doubt figured out, applying to college is no easy task. You’ve found the schools that are a reasonable match for you, you’ve researched all of the requirements, sweated and gnashed your teeth over crafting an essay that reflects your character, made sure you’ve done the proper paperwork for the guidance office and more.

Make an assumption about your ED/EA applications

Now that you’ve submitted this first round of applications, all you have to do is sit back and wait for mid-December to get your response, right?

It’s tempting to wait and see how you fared, but you would be best served to hit send on your early application(s), and then quickly make an important assumption.

Assume you’ll be deferred.

Prepare yourself–convince yourself, even–that the result of your early application is going to be a deferral into the regular decision applicant pool. In essence, your mid-December decision will be a no decision. The middle of December will roll around, and you’re going to have to continue to wait to find out your fate at one or more of your colleges.

I know this is deflating and certainly not the news you’re hoping to get, but this is a vitally important assumption to make for your college-going future. So, why would I tell you to do this?

Because it’s best for you–trust me. After the stress-filled days leading up to your early application deadline, there’s high likelihood that you’re going to want a well-deserved break, but don’t do it! You’ve got momentum in your favor and once you lose that, it’s going to be challenging to get it back.

Instead, depending on your next college application deadline, give yourself a very limited number of days off (maybe 3 or 4) and then start working on the other applications in your pile. As someone who knows (wink-wink) that you’re going to get deferred in the early round, you need to continue to submit applications so that you have other options in the regular decision round. If you can convince yourself of your deferral, you’re likely to feel the necessity, if not urgency, to continue to submit other applications.

Why you shouldn’t “wait and see”

The danger of the wait-and-see approach will be evident right around December 16th, or the day after the early decision/early action decisions are released.

Imagine what will happen if you are, in fact, deferred: You’ve just had your hopes deflated, and, worse yet, you now only have about two weeks in many cases to rush to complete your other applications before the regular decision deadline.

This can be an absolutely deadly approach.

You’ll likely be feeling down and disappointed, and not wanting to do much of anything, let alone scramble to turn in the rest of your applications. By doing the “wait and see” approach, you’ve just put yourself into a really tough and stressful situation, which you could have avoided.

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So here’s the one thing you must do.

You’re so much better off having them completed and then just waiting to hit send once those early round decisions are released. Best case scenario, you don’t need to and it was an unnecessary expenditure of some time, but it could also mean that you finished your other applications when your mind was focused and you were motivated to put your best foot forward.

In the end, as soon as you click “submit” on your Early Action or Early Decision applications, it’s time to turn your focus on the rest of your apps.

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