It’s November, which means the holiday season is in full swing. Black Friday. Online shopping. Wish lists. Is your heart racing yet? In higher ed, we often look forward to the holiday break, relishing the thought of having some time for ourselves and our families. But this isn’t necessarily true for some admissions offices. On top of holiday pandemonium, this time of year can feel even more chaotic for admissions teams reviewing college applications. They’re handling too many paper applications without the flexibility to read “on the go” or the ability to collaborate effectively with other reviewers. This leads to time-consuming processes, security concerns and delayed response times.
It may seem premature to be reviewing applications, but these institutions have implemented early decision or early action programs, allowing students to apply “early” for college. Early admissions programs can give students a competitive edge as they often have (slightly) higher acceptance rates compared to regular admissions; however, these programs primarily provide an advantage to those highly desirable, top-quality students.
What exactly are these programs?
Early Decision (ED) – Students apply to one college on or before November 1st (for some schools November 15th) and receive an admissions decision by mid-December. If accepted, students are required to commit to the institution, and cannot negotiate their financial aid or backout if they change their mind about the school. If denied, students have the opportunity to apply to an ED II college which has the same limitations, just a later application deadline.
Early Action (EA) – Students apply to one or more institutions on or before November 1st (for some schools November 15th) and receive an admissions decision by mid-December. If accepted, the student is not required to commit to the institution until May 1st, the nationally-recognized decision deadline day. Less restrictions mean that students can apply to other EA schools and compare financial aid offers before making a final decision. There are, however, a handful of universities that follow a Restricted Early Action program, such that students cannot apply to any other EA schools until they have made an admissions decision. To note, there are EA II programs that allows students to apply in January and receive an admissions decision within a few weeks.
So what is the ideal solution?
The Decision Module enables your reviewers to read complete applicant portfolios all in one place – through an iPad or web-based system – eliminating the need for paper files. With the ability to evaluate applicants online or offline through the iPad and the option to have multiple readers access the web-based solution, your entire team can annotate application elements, create a data driven review process through the scorecard and collaborate with ease for a streamlined experience. The University of New Haven changed their application review process and cut their review time by 50-75%. Their success is the perfect justification to add the Decision Module to your holiday wish list right now. It may just come in handy for next year.