Applying to Colleges and Universities

Common Application

The Common Application is a great tool for students to apply to multiple schools using the same basis for the application. For example, if a student applies to 10 schools individually, he/she would need to submit the same information (academic records, parents' academic records, list and explanations of extracurricular activities, etc.) to each school. The Common Application provides an easier solution and allows students to use the same inputted information for each school. The Common Application has one large essay (maximum 650 words) that can be sent to every school to which students apply. Some schools on the Common Application require additional essays to be written before the application is submitted. There are currently over 900 schools across the United States and around the world that allow students to utilize the Common Application. If students are applying to multiple schools, Ultimate Test Prep greatly recommends using the Common Application to make applying easier and more efficient.

School-Specific Applications

Almost every college and university will allow students to apply via their school's application. This option works best when students are only applying to one or two schools. Also, some schools are not part of the Common Application, and, therefore, students must use the school-specific application to apply.

Early Decision...Early Action...Regular Decision

There are many different types of applications when applying to colleges. Some schools offer all types of applications while other schools select certain types fit their admissions process more suitably. Application submission deadlines vary for each school and each type of application. The most common application deadlines are October 15th, November 1st, November 15th, December 1st, and January 1st.

Early decision applications are binding plans. If a student is accepted to a school via an early decision application, the student must attend that school unless a new, major factor arises preventing the student from attending (i.e. a major change in financial situation). Early decision applicants do not have the ability to compare financial aid offers from different schools. However, applying early decision shows schools your commitment and dedication to their university. In summary...

  • Early decision is binding.
  • Only apply early decision if you are 100% dedicated to that school....regardless of price.
  • You can only apply to one school via early decision.

Early action applications are not binding plans. Students are able to apply to many schools via early action applications and compare financial aid offers before making a decision (typically by May 1st). Applying via an early action application shows schools that you have thoroughly researched their school and show enough interest into their university to submit all necessary materials earlier than a typical applicant. To receive academic scholarships at some schools, an early action application may be required. At Ultimate Test Prep, this is our most popular recommendation. In summary...

  • Early action is not binding.
  • We recommend applying via early action to most schools students consider attending.
  • You can apply to many schools via early action.

Regular decision applications are similar to early action applications; however, their deadline is to apply is typically a few months later. One major upside to applying via regular decision is that students have more time to complete their application. One major downside to applying via regular decision is that many students have already applied, been accepted, and awarded academic scholarships via early decision and early action. Therefore, students who apply via rolling admission take a risk in applying later than many other students. In summary...

  • Regular decision is not binding.
  • Submission deadlines are later than early decision and early action.
  • These applications are less preferred by colleges as opposed to early action applications.

How Ultimate Test Prep Can Help

We help our students...

  • Maximize their potential by highlighting key aspects of their identity.
  • Create a schedule to prioritize more difficult aspects of the application.
  • Ensure that all of their applications are submitted on time.
  • Utilize our expertise and experience in submitting applications with exactly what colleges desire out of applicants.