Your College Application Encyclopedia: Through Every Season

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the terms and acronyms colleges are throwing around when you visit campus? Never heard of the CSS Profile? Not sure what your counselor is talking about when he mentions binding plans, deferment, or demonstrated interest? Allow us to help!

Here are some of the new terms you may encounter through the college admissions process based on the season in which you might encounter them.


What application rounds are offered at Furman? What do they all mean?? Below are the three application plans we offer at Furman.

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Early Decision: Early Decision (ED) is what’s known as a binding plan, meaning that if you apply ED at Furman, you are committed to attend Furman if you are accepted. In order to apply Early Decision to Furman, you have to sign a contract stating that you understand that you the terms of the ED agreement. Your high school counselor and a parent or guardian also have to sign off on this contract.

Important to note: If you choose ED at Furman, you are still able to apply to other schools, just not under another ED contract. If you are accepted to Furman under Early Decision, you will be expected to revoke any additional applications. You are still eligible for scholarship and financial aid as an ED candidate.

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Early Action: Early Action is for those of you who aren’t ready to fully commit yet, but still want to find out your decision early. You will learn your admission decision before the winter holidays, but you won’t have to make your final decision until May 1st, which gives you plenty of time to consider your options. Early Action is our largest applicant pool at Furman.

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Regular Decision: If you had a particularly busy fall, or Furman didn’t get on your radar until after November 1st, you can still apply under our Regular Decision plan in January.

Be aware: Our admit rate will be a bit lower in the Regular Decision pool, since seats in the freshman class will have started to fill with Early Decision and Early Action candidates at that point.


You’ve submitted your application, and a decision letter comes in the mail. What does your decision mean? What are all the possible decisions you could receive from Furman?

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Admit: You’re in! We are delighted to offer you a spot in the incoming freshman class at Furman. Unless you are an Early Decision applicant (see above), you don’t have to respond to your offer until May 1st. Once you decide, you can submit your enrollment deposit in your student portal to secure your spot in the Furman family.

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Defer: Defer is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the possible decisions at Furman, so let’s unpack what it means. If you receive a defer decision, it means we are unable to make a final decision on your application at that point in time. Often this is the case for applicants in our Early Action pool. If you are deferred in our Early Action pool, your application will be reconsidered under our Regular Decision pool. Please know: defer does not mean deny. Read your decision letter carefully for guidelines as to next steps you can take while your application is being reviewed. We may ask you to submit your first semester transcript, or to connect with your admission counselor. These steps are crucial to the Admission Committee as we make final decisions in the Regular Decision round.

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Waitlist: Because we do not have the space to admit all qualified applicants at Furman, you may receive a Waitlist decision. This means that we would like to continue to consider you as a possible member of the incoming freshman class if space becomes available closer to May 1st. We turn to our Waitlist on a space-available basis. If you receive a Waitlist decision and are still interested, please get in touch with us to let us know of your interest!

Deny: Unfortunately, we are not able to offer you a spot in the incoming class at Furman.


Decisions have arrived, and now it’s time to evaluate your options. What kind of scholarship and aid is offered at Furman? What documents are required in order to qualify?

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Merit Aid/Scholarship: Merit aid is also known as merit scholarship. Merit scholarships are awarded based on the merits of your application—specifically, your academic profile, essays, and extracurricular involvement. Financial need is not taken into consideration for these awards.

Financial Aid: Financial aid are additional grants and loans offered to you based on your family’s financial need. These grants and loans stack on top of any merit scholarship offer. To qualify for financial aid, you (or a parent) will need to fill out both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile (see below).

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FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most common form used by colleges to assess your family’s financial need. The information shared in this form (which can be completed online) will be processed by our financial aid office in order to distribute aid accordingly.

CSS Profile: The CSS Profile is an additional document used by some (but not all) colleges that will ask for more detailed information to help us get a better picture of your family’s finances. Along with the FAFSA, you are also able to complete the CSS Profile online. Both documents are required by Furman in order to be eligible for Financial Aid.

Work Study: Work Study is a federal award that some students will qualify for after completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile. If you are awarded Work Study, you have the option to obtain a job on Furman’s campus and earn a certain dollar amount that will be paid to you by the government for your hours worked.


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Enrollment deposit: Your ticket to your four-year Furman experience! The Enrollment Deposit is a $500, nonrefundable deposit that secures your spot in the incoming class. We can’t wait to welcome you to campus!

If you have any questions after reading this post, please get in touch with your admissions counselor. We are happy to help!


By: Heather Lorenz, Assistant Director of Admissions

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