Priority in college admissions sounds great, but what is it exactly? In this blog we’ll discuss what priority really means in college admissions. We’ll also try to clear up any of the questions you might have about priority admissions.
Priority (VIP) Application
You may have received an interesting email from a college or university telling you that your application has priority status. But what does this mean? You’ll have to read the fine print. Typically this means they waive your application fee. However, sometimes a VIP application also means you have access to a fast app. A fast app means you won’t have to fill out a full application with all the essays. As a result, it’s a faster, more simple application. Finally, they may even tell you that you’ll hear back in two weeks with a decision.
Sounds great, right? But you may be wondering why colleges are giving you such a good deal. Don’t worry, it’s not a scam. These are real universities reaching out to offer you some perks. These universities may have some marketing goals of their own, but this can still be a win-win scenario. These VIP applications are a recruitment campaign. If you have great test scores and grades, they want to attract you to their campus.
These offers don’t guarantee you’ll get in. If a school that’s already on your list sends you a priority application, that’s great! However, keep in mind that a smaller application does not mean a greater chance of admission. If it’s a top choice school, you may want to complete the full application instead. You may consider filling out a priority application for a safety school so you can get some peace of mind. However, don’t feel that you need to apply to every school that reaches out.
A priority deadline is terminology schools use that is similar to early action. However, there are some key differences. Early action means you apply on a certain date, and then you find out if you’ve been accepted earlier. This does not mean you are more likely to get in. The only promise early action gives is an earlier decision date. Priority deadlines guarantees some additional benefits. However, specific benefits depend on which school you’re applying to.
If you apply by a school’s priority deadline, some benefits may include consideration for scholarships, consideration for acceptance to the honors college, or preference for housing or majors. Finally, you may also get a bump in admissions probability. This is more likely to be the case at schools with rolling admissions.
Rolling admissions is when schools take your application and review it within a few weeks. After those few weeks they send their decision. These schools accept students throughout the year. Schools with that kind of cycle may give you a heads up and let you know that applying by the priority deadline will give you the best shot. These deadlines are especially important if you know you’re not a strong candidate. If you had a few mistakes or bad grades in high school, priority deadlines may present a good opportunity.
Universities with Priority Deadlines
The chart below shows some schools with priority deadlines. Some perks include merit scholarships, housing preference, and financial aid consideration. Some deadlines are more informal than others. You’ll need to check with each school you’re planning to apply to for any priority deadline perks they may have.
If you notice that you’ve already missed a priority deadline, don’t freak out! There are still a number of deadlines that don’t pass until December 1st at the earliest. Additionally, if you miss something, just keep moving forward. Turn in your application as early as possible if it reflects how great you are. Even if you missed a priority deadline, there’s still room to get in to those schools. You may also still be able to receive scholarships. Even if priority consideration has passed, some schools may still offer scholarships to more students. Finally, if you are planning on applying to a large state school with rolling admission, consider turning in your application as soon as possible! These large schools often receive a huge number of applications.
|University||Date||What's Offered||Rolling Admissions|
|Arizona State||Nov 1||Financial aid consideration||x|
|Auburn University||March 1||Priority consideration for financial aid/fafsa, supplemental grants and federal work-study|
|Ball State||Nov 15 (honors), Dec 1 (Scholarships), March 1||Honors, Scholarships, admissions consideration||x|
|Cal Arts||Dec 1||Reduced application fee|
|Cal State||Nov 30 / Dec 15 (varies according to campus)||x|
|Clemson University||Dec 1||Earlier notification, priority consideration for admission and academic scholarships|
|Florida State University||Nov 1||Merit scholarships, earlier notification||x|
|Gonzaga University||Dec 1||Financial aid/FAFSA|
|Miami Univerity||December 1||Honors Programs, Merit Scholarships|
|Michigan State University||Nov 1||Applying *early action increases scholarship consideration||x|
|Penn State||December 1 (also offers EA)||Recommended; Some Programs may have earlier dadlines||x|
|Purdue||(also EA deadline) 11/1/2021||Certain Programs (CS, Nursing, ), higher scholarship/honors consideration|
|SUNY||December 1 (informal)||Financial aid, campus housing and consideration for your major of choice||x|
|University of Arkansas||Nov 1, November 15 (Scholarships), Dec 1 (Fin Aid)||Scholarship and financial aid consideration||x|
|University of Connecticut||Dec 1||Merit and honors consideration||x|
|University of Maryland||Nov 1||*Early action deadline assures priority consideration for admission, merit scholarships and invitation to special programs.||x|
|University of Rochester||December 1 (also offers ED 1 & 2)||Highest Scholarship Consideration|
|University of Tennessee at Knoxville||Nov 1||Apply *early action to be fully considered for competitive scholarships and Honors programs|
|University of Texas||Novermber 1||Earlier Notification (otherwise unclear)|
|University of Utah||Nov 1 (honors), Dec 1 (Merit Scholarships/Business Scholars) (Also offers EA Dec 1)||Honors college, merit scholarship, and business scholars consideration|
|USC||December 1||Merit Scholarships|
|Vanderbilt University||Feb 3||Priority deadline for filing CSS (scholarship) profile and FAFSA|
|Virginia Tech||March 1||Financial aid/FAFSA|