Ahead of the Curve: How High School Counselors Can Help Students Prepare for Early Action

When their final year is underway, high school seniors breathe easy knowing they have a few months before it’s time to complete their looming college applications. Unless, of course, they want to apply early, which requires getting organized by November – and means forfeiting precious time during winter break to finish applications.

It’s a big deal for students, which means it’s important to you. As the savvy, caring and organized counselor, registrar or administrator you are, you can guide students into early bird slots with success. Keep these tips up your sleeve to prepare students for early action college application deadlines:

Make sure they know the difference

Start by answering the fundamental question at hand: What is early action? While most high school students have heard the term in reference to their upcoming college applications, they may not realize that early action is different from early decision. While the latter can scare students away with its binding nature, the former is a more relaxed way to get applications completed sooner rather than later. The difference is also crucial for students relying on aid, as early action allows them to choose between colleges based on the financial packages offered.

Discuss the pros and cons

Once they realize early action is far more chill than early decision, students may be inclined to learn more about this application option. Help them understand how they may benefit from applying early, whether it means cutting down on application anxiety or showing their top picks how serious they are about attending the program. However, applying for college is a stressful experience to begin with, so make sure your students aren’t biting off more than they can chew by rushing into early college application deadlines.

Set their sights on the right college

Both early action and early decision applications require extensive research to select the schools that are worth the advanced submission. Help students feel confident in their choices, providing advice and information that guides them to apply early action to colleges that are a perfect fit on all counts – academically, socially, geographically and so on.

Share the important dates

Students who choose to apply early action must follow a different timeline than their peers who plan to submit applications at regular deadlines. Make sure students are aware of the accelerated process by sharing a calendar of the important dates they should work toward. For instance, the College Board recommended encouraging students and their families to visit their top schools between January and May of junior year. Added to that, early action applicants must take standardized tests by October of senior year to receive their scores in time to meet the early application deadlines.

Get organized on your end

While your students are in charge of building out their transcripts and records with the stellar scores and shining performance that colleges want to see, they rely on you to get that information to the colleges of their choice. Parchment Send for K-12 helps counselors manage multiple student records and send relevant information to colleges via print or digital means. Schedule a demo to see how easy it can make it for you to meet your end of the college application requirements.

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