Applications 101: Terms & Definitions

Here at College MatchPoint, we are gearing up for college application season which begins in earnest in August. Depending on where students are applying to college, they may need to complete a number of different applications. The vast majority of the students we work with at College MatchPoint use the Common App and/or ApplyTexas, but it is worth familiarizing yourself with all of the types of applications you may face during the college admissions process.

  • The Common Application (Common App): an undergraduate college application that students can use to apply to more than 500 private and public schools
  • The Texas Common Application (ApplyTexas): a centralized application for students (Texas residents and non-residents) to apply to all Texas public universities, as well as a few participating private schools and community colleges in Texas
  • State-System Applications: other large states with a network of public universities (California, Florida, etc.) have their own version of ApplyTexas for students to use
  • College-Specific Applications: some schools have their own separate applications that students must complete for admission

Another decision students will need to make is when to apply to each school. Here is an explanation of each admission option:

  • Early Decision: Otherwise known as a binding decision, Early Decision lets you learn your admissions decision from a school early, but requires you to commit to go to this particular school if you are accepted. Applications to other schools must be withdrawn upon acceptance, so this option should be wielded very carefully! Early Decision applications are due well before Regular Decision applications, and students will generally hear back from these colleges by mid December. You can only apply Early Decision to one school.
  • Early Action: Early Action is a non-binding application method offered by some schools, which means you can get early notification of your admissions decision but still wait to hear back from all of your options before choosing a school. While you will generally hear back from a school you apply Early Action to in December, you still have until May to make your final decision. You can apply Early Action to a number of schools. Our students tend to love Early Action.
  • Regular Admission: The most common type of application, Regular Admission requires applicants to submit their applications materials to colleges by a deadline, most commonly in early January. It is important to watch out for schools’ “Priority Deadlines” if you are seeking scholarships. Acceptance letters are sent to students in March or April and you will have until May to make a decision.