College Application Terminology
- Early decision is a binding agreement between the student and that university. If the student is accepted, the student must attend. This is best for students who are determined to get into a specific school.
- Early action is not binding. The student will simply find out sooner whether or not s/he has been accepted and at some schools, will also have a shot at more merit money.
- Restrictive– If the student applies to a school with a restrictive early action plan, s/he can’t apply for any other early action or early decision plan at any other college. S/He can only apply to that one college or university but the student isn't required to accept an offer of admission (like they do with early decision).
- Non-restrictive -Colleges with a non-restrictive early action plan allows students to apply to whatever colleges they are interested in, provided, of course, that they are also non-restrictive early action colleges (or if the student has applied for regular admission). The student can also apply to one early decision college in addition to multiple non-restrictive early action colleges.
- Personal Statement-- Also known as the application essay. Most competitive schools require at least one major statement, many times two or more, along with multiple short-response answers. These schools admit half (or well less) of all who apply. Admission committees use personal statements to learn more about their applicants.