College Admissions


3 Types of College Admissions

1. Open Admission

This type of policy accepts students with high school diploma or equivalent until classes begin or space is gone. The exception would be for limited- enrollment programs within the school, where requirements may be greater to be admitted. Most community colleges have open admission policies. College entrance exams are often not required for admission, but they may be required for scholarships and financial aid or for selected programs.

2. Rolling Admission

Under this kind of admission policy, applicants are accepted until the limit in the upcoming freshman class is reached. Notification of applicants is done as they apply. Typically there are also minimum admission standards which must be met in order to apply for admission, and these standards are typically greater than those required to earn a high school diploma. College entrance exams are often required under this type of admission policy.

3. Selective Admission

These schools have firm application deadlines, usually falling between December and February of the student’s senior year. They may also utilize a common notification date for all applicants, sometimes in early April. The admission requirements in this category are often significantly greater than the high school graduation requirements. College entrance exams, and possibly additional testing, are often required.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a College

Students are advised to consider the following factors when selecting a college.

  • Majors and Academic Programs
  • Admission requirements & level of selectivity for entrance
  • Location & setting of the campus (urban, rural, suburban)
  • Distance from home
  • Size of student body (500-40,000)
  • Public, private, or church affiliation
  • Campus life, clubs, extracurricular activities on campus
  • Housing availability
  • Financial aid, scholarships, endowments and payment plans
  • Class sizes; student-teacher ratio
  • Faculty-professors or graduate teaching assistants
  • Special programs for enrichment
  • Study abroad opportunities
  • Health and tutoring resources
  • Campus safety
  • Career advising and job placement resources
  • Honors programs
  • ROTC programs
  • Accelerated degree programs
  • Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit policies
  • Cooperative education programs & Internships


Applying for “Early decision” or “Early Action”

Some colleges and universities, especially those with selective admissions policies, offer Early Decision and Early Notification or Early Action application options. These are two different kinds of policies where students apply at an earlier deadline and they are also notified of their admission status earlier. Students are cautioned to look carefully at the requirements and details of these policies at the institutions that utilize them.

Early Decision

Early Decision is an option designed for students who have evaluated their college choices early, have firmly determined which school is their first choice, and want to settle their college decision early in their senior year. In applying Early Decision, you are entering into a binding agreement with the college to attend there if you are admitted. Applicants may also be prohibited from applying to other schools.

Since admission decisions arrive before financial aid awards are offered to applicants, the student applying early decision should be in a position to attend the school regardless of the financial aid offer. It is sometimes the case that early decision applicants have an advantage over regular decision applicants, but students should be leery of using early decision unless they are positive about their school choice and also are not dependent on financial aid.

Early Action

Early Action or Notification is a different type of policy, where there is typically no binding agreement to attend the school if admitted. The admission deadline is earlier and so is the notification to students. Students may apply to other schools under these policies.

College Entrance Exams

Most four-year colleges and universities require either SAT 1 (Reasoning test) or ACT scores as part of the admission package. Either test is usually acceptable, and the colleges will often look at the higher scores if multiple exams are taken over time. Many students will take both of these exams, as they may do better on one or the other, and colleges will give the benefit to the higher scores. We recommend taking the PSAT in the junior year (and possibly also the sophomore year) as well as either the SAT 1 or the ACT in the spring of the junior year.

Go to the SAT/ACT page.

Financial Aid

All colleges and training programs that offer financial aid to students will require the FAFSA completed in a timely fashion. An updated FAFSA will also need to be filed each January that the student remains in the program.

Go to the financial aid page to read more.