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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Let's talk about Early Action

The 2011-2012 application season will be our first with Early Action.  It'll be our first year with two deadlines since 2006, when we got rid of that other kind of early deadline (I'm not going to mention the exact term so you don't associate it with us). 

I have to admit that I liked having one deadline.  I thought it was the right thing to do in light of complaints about the admission process creeping earlier and earlier recent years.  Everyone was in the same pool.  Everyone was evaluated together.  I didn't read files on Thanksgiving for a few years.  It was nice.

Alas, we got an earful.  You want an early process.  So, we're giving you one.  We offer the basic early action program.  There are no restrictions.  We don't dictate how you apply to your other schools.  Of course, if you get in to another school through a binding early program (see, I'm not mentioning the D word so you don't associate it with UVa), we expect you to withdraw your application to UVa.

I know many of you see Early Action as a way to get out in front of the pack (which isn't all that far behind).  Some of your perceive Early Action to be an easier way to be admitted.  That isn't going to be the case here.  We are going to read files the same way throughout the application season.  We don't have any statistics about Early Action at this point, so you can't use that as a factor when you are deciding whether to apply in the early or regular rounds.

Instead of consulting stats to make this decision for you, you need to think about what kind of application you can present in November and what kind of application you can present in January.

If you think you had an amazing junior year and your application is rock solid without the first semester of senior year on your transcript, consider applying early.  If you had a little stumble early on in your junior year (which sometimes happens when you step up the number of advanced classes* in your schedule, maybe you should apply under Regular Decision, when we'll have some senior grades to consider (my expectation is that you rebounded in a big way). 

Feel free to post your questions about Early Action in the comments!

CavDog staying ahead of the pack

* I use "advanced classes" a lot because there are different options out there.  I'm referring to the top classes at your school, often the AP or IB courses.