Why apply early?

Students on the CSU campus.

As fall season rolls around, some prospective students are already hard at work on their college applications. At CSU, we call this early action. All freshman who submit a complete application by December 1 are considered early action applicants.

There are many reasons to apply early. You may be excited and want to get an admission decision quickly. Or you may have a goal of having all college applications done during fall semester.

Whatever your reason, early action offers big benefits. Follow along as we dive into some of the best reasons to apply early.

#1: Apply early, get a decision early.

As an early action applicant, you’ll be guaranteed to receive an admission decision by the end of December. You’ll also receive our automatic merit scholarship consideration, which can help you decide if CSU fits financially.

Sometimes students hold off on applying until after the fall semester in order to improve their ACT/SAT scores or GPA for admission or scholarship consideration. If you’re within our typical admission range, don’t wait to apply! You can submit new test scores and an updated transcript by February 1 to improve your scholarship eligibility. We’d rather get you a decision as soon as possible, so send us what you’ve got and let us decide whether more information would be helpful to you.

If your ACT score is below 19, your SAT score is below 950, and/or your GPA is below 2.8, talk to your admissions counselor before applying early

#2: Get your spot in competitive majors.

Two of our competitive majors, biomedical sciences and mechanical engineering, have limits on how many new students they can accept each year. These majors may reach their limits before February 1.

If you’re considering either one of these programs, apply early. It will give you a stronger chance of being placed into the major before it reaches its limit.

#3: Focus in on next steps.

Applying to college is the first in a series of steps. Early action allows you to turn your attention to next steps sooner, like:

Financial aid opportunities

You can spend more time searching and applying for scholarships. You can also focus on completing the FAFSA sooner. This will help you better understand the amount of financial aid you can expect and get clarity on which college fits you financially.

Campus housing

If you have your sights set on a particular residence hall, completing your housing application early can give you a better chance of getting your top choice.

Note that only admitted students who have placed their deposit can complete the housing application.

Additional visit options

Sometimes, seeing your major and the university from the viewpoint of a current student is important in order to make the right college choice.

Early action will give you access to visit options tailored to admitted students. You’ll have more time to take a deep dive into all aspects of CSU and can schedule meetings with faculty or researchers from your chosen major.

#4: Spend more time pursuing academic opportunities.

Early action allows you to turn your focus to leadership and academic options sooner. Some of our most popular programs include:

University Honors

Our Honors Program allows you to be surrounded by academically-focused classmates from day one of your college experience. Honors students receive a scholarship, work with faculty members closely, take seminar-style Honors courses, and have the option to live with other Honors students on-campus.

Honors requires an application that consists of a few short-answer essays. The program is limited in how many students it can accept each year. Therefore, early action is a great option if you want to ensure that you’ll be in the running for Honors.

Presidential Leadership Program (PLP)

If you’re looking for leadership experience, look no further than PLP. This three-year, 14-credit program allows you to build your resume from the moment you step foot onto campus. You’ll receive valuable training and experience alongside equally driven classmates.

Similar to Honors, PLP requires an application and is limited in the number of students it can accept each year.

Key Communities

Come together with students who identify with you in many ways by joining one of our six Key Communities. You’ll get leadership and academic experience, staff support, and can live on-campus with your Key classmates.

If you’re considering applying for a Key Community, early action is a great choice. You’ll be able to turn your attention to the Key application earlier in the year.

Ready, Set, Go.

It’s obvious that early action has many benefits. It allows you to continue on the college path quickly. You can also spend more time on next steps or areas of the college experience that appeal to you most.

That being said, early action isn’t for everyone — your situation is unique and only you can truly know if it makes sense. If you’re still not sure about early action, our counselors are here to help you make the right choice. Contact your counselor and get their advice