Three ways to apply to college

April 27, 2012

As the prospect of leaving high school and heading off to college draws closer, figuring out the application process will become a major part of your life. Scholarship opportunities are important for offsetting the rising costs of higher education tuition. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 66 percent of undergraduates were awarded financial aid of some level during the 2007 to 2008 school year, which means that your chances of receiving some of that money are good. But before you can worry too much about that, you'll need to actually be accepted into a school. Luckily, there are three different ways you can go about doing this.

Early decision
If there's one school in particular that you know is a perfect fit for you, you may want to consider applying early decision. You'll need to apply sooner than standard applications require, but your chances of acceptance can also be higher at certain schools. However, be aware that being admitted based on early decision is a binding obligation, which means you have to go to that school.

Early action
Much like early decision, early action allows you to get a jump on those submitting regular applications to college. However, the major difference is that early action is non-binding, so you'll have the freedom to pursue other schools even if you're accepted.

Standard application
When you're not exactly sure which school out of the group you applied to is right for you, standard applications are the way to go. These applications are sent later than the early programs, and allow you to weigh your options before making any final decisions.

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