Early college applications can make all the difference

Senior year of high school can be a busy and demanding time, but students shouldn't wait until their senior year to think about filling out college applications. Many education experts suggest using a college search engine to find the right college for you as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of being accepted to your first choice university.

One forward-thinking eighth-grade student who is already thinking about her college application is Estefany Hernandez, from Lowe's Grove Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. Hernandez recently received the Duke University Student of the Week award for her commitment to her education. She hopes to attend the J.D. Clement Early College High School program next year to further improve her chances.

"My parents are always telling me, ‘Do good in school. It will benefit you in the long run,'" Estefany told The Herald-Sun newspaper.

If you're thinking of filling out a college application early, you can choose one school as part of what is known as an early decision selection, according to the Palo Alto Daily News. Choosing this option in your college application tells the school that it is your first choice, and you are legally required to accept any offer made by the school. Other options are available and you should discuss any questions you have about them with your college admissions adviser.

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