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By Sherry Diorio

College "Early Decision" vs "Early Action"

If a college offers an "Early Action" plan, that means that is a nonbinding option that would enable a student to get a decision early.  "Early Decision" is a binding option that a student would only use for a school that is definitely their #1 school.  Early Action and Early Decision deadlines are usually in November.  For example, The University of Michigan Early Action deadline is November 1st.  If a student is applying for Early Decision, they should make an appointment with their school counselor to go over the required paperwork.


The FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) opens on October 1st.  You must complete the FAFSA to be considered for financial aid, including loans.  You should log on to create an ID.  It takes a few days to process the ID.  -Some colleges require parents/guardians to submit the FAFSA AND CSS/Financial Profile. Check to see which schools require both:

To complete the FAFSA for 2020-2021, you will use your 2018 income tax return.


The common application is a generic college application that students can complete once and send to numerous colleges.  The common application website has a list of participating colleges.  Each college may have their own specific addendums to submit in addition to the common application.  All this information is on the common app website.  Students create their profile, complete the application, add their colleges, add their teachers for recommendation and add their school counselor -


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