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Planning for college

Things to Know

Every college has an application fee - contact each school and ask for a waiver, if needed.

You receive four free choices to send ACT/SAT results to potential colleges. After those are used, there is a charge of $15 per school, so choose wisely when registering.

Most colleges have a Supplemental Application form in addition to the Common Application, so read carefully. Be sure to get feedback on your essay response.

Get your references early and tell them to check for reference emails.

Early Action, like Early Decision, is an accelerated college application process in which students typically must complete their applications in November. In most cases, students will then receive a decision from the college before the new year. In general, Early Action is a much more attractive option than Early Decision. Some reasons to consider Early Action include:

At many colleges, the acceptance rates are higher for early action than for regular admission.

Students who are not accepted early are still considered for admission with the regular admission pool.

Early Action is not binding - students are free to apply to other colleges.

Students can apply early to other colleges.

Although students receive early notification of an acceptance, they do not need to make a decision until the usual May 1 deadline. This allows time to figure out financial aid.

If accepted early at a college, the spring of a student's senior year will be far less stressful.

Even if accepted early, a student can choose to go to a different college with no penalty.


The PSAT exam in October is an opportunity to practice for the SAT and determines eligibility for National Merit Scholarships. Plan to take your ACT and/or SAT tests in December or February and again in April or June. Be sure to prepare for the exam using test prep books available at the public library or through online prep programs.