Preparing for College

Early Decision/Action for Student with Rising Record?

Question: Should I apply for early action/decision when my previous grades were not that good? I currently have a 2.7 and recently pushed it up to a 2.85. I plan on increasing it even more in my senior year. I went from B-, Cs, and rarely Ds (1 D in freshman semester and another D in a sophomore semester) to C+, B's, and A-. Should I still apply early action/decision or should I hold off from that and let my grade go up the most? I'm worried that if I apply early, colleges won't see my highest GPA.

You would be wise to wait until you have a full semester of senior grades before applying Early Action or Early Decision. As you've noted yourself, it's best if colleges see as much of your upward trend as possible.

However, here are a couple of exceptions:

--If you are applying to any Safety school that offers non-binding Early Action, and your current GPA and SAT's will make you a sure-thing, then it's okay to go for EA there.

--If you will have your first semester grades by mid-January, and you expect them to be strong, you might consider a college with an Early Decision II option. (These deadlines are usually January 1, with mid-February notification.) Although you won't have your newest grades by the deadline, they will be posted in time for admission committees to use them in the ED II round. This way, you'd have the best of both worlds ... the opportunity to send a message to admission officials that says, "This is my first-choice college" but also the chance to submit your best possible grades.

Of course, even if you do wait until the Regular round to submit all your applications, you can still write to your favorite college to explain that this school is indeed your first choice but that you didn't apply early in order to prove that your academic record is still on the rise.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.