Apply Q&A (Early Decision and Early Action)

Find answers to your questions about applying for Early Decision and Early Action admission as a first-year student at Clark. If you need more information, contact the Admissions Office at 800-GO-CLARK or 800-462-5275 or

What's the deadline for Early Decision or Early Action?

Nov. 1

What's the difference between Early Decision and Early Action?

  • Early Decision — a binding agreement that allows students to apply early to Clark knowing that if they are admitted they will enroll. Applicants may only apply Early Decision to one school (their first choice).
  • Early Action — you'll find out our admission decision early, but you don't need to commit to Clark until May 1.

What are the advantages of applying Early Action and Early Decision?

Early Decision:

  • By applying in this round you're demonstrating to the Admissions Committee that Clark is your first choice, which can help support your application.
  • You know early in your senior year if you're admitted into your first-choice school. You'll receive your admission decision in December, which allows you to focus on preparing for a successful transition from high school to college.
  • You can meet other admitted students at early admissions events throughout the spring.

Early Action:

  • You have options without having to make an early commitment, which gives you the chance to really familiarize yourself with Clark.
  • You'll receive your admission decision in December, as opposed to Regular Decision applicants who receive a decision in March.
  • You'll be invited to our early admissions events and be able to spend more time on campus to determine if Clark is the right fit for you.

How do I apply Early Decision or Early Action?

Simply indicate on the Common Application that you want to apply Early Decision or Early Action. As long as you submit your entire application (Common Application, essay, high school transcript, two letters of recommendation and application fee) to Clark by November 1, the Admissions Committee will notify you of a decision by mid-December.

Students who submit their applications and some supplements to Clark by November 1, but don't have all necessary documents in by the deadline, will be reviewed for early admission on a rolling basis. Find information about how to apply and the components you need to submit.

If I apply to Clark's Early Decision or Early Action programs, can I apply to other schools?

  • Early Decision — You can apply to other colleges or universities, but you can only apply Early Decision to one institution. If you are accepted Early Decision at Clark, you have to withdraw your other applications and commit to Clark.
  • Early Action — You can apply to other colleges or universities; Clark's Early Action plan is non-restrictive. Students who apply Early Action have until May 1 to enroll at Clark University.

If I apply to Clark Early Decision or Early Action, how do I find out about need-based financial aid?

  • Early Decision: Early estimates of need-based financial aid will be released at the time of decision if an applicant has submitted the CSS Profile by November 15. Merit aid is also awarded with the decision. In order to complete your application for financial aid, if you're applying Early Decision, you will need to fill out both the FASFA and the CSS Profile by the priority deadline of November 15. The Financial Aid Office will process your application and send you an updated financial aid award letter by April 1.
  • Early Action: Students who apply Early Action and who are interested in being considered for need-based financial aid will need to fill out the FASFA and the CSS Profile by the priority deadline of November 15. The Financial Aid Office will process your application and send you an award letter by April 1. Early Action students will still have until May 1 to make their final enrollment decisions.

Am I eligible for merit-based scholarships if I apply Early Action or Early Decision?

Yes. Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on your academic performance and other factors included in your application. Every student who applies to Clark for admission is automatically considered for most of our merit-based scholarships. The only exception is the Presidential LEEP Scholarship.

Does Clark require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores?

No. Clark is SAT/ACT test-optional. It's up to you to decide if you want to submit your scores.

Can I submit my application through the mail?

No. Applications must be submitted online through the Common Application.

How can I track the progress of my application?

Once you've started your application, we'll send you an email with information about how to log in to our applicant portal, where you can check on the status of your materials, see what's missing and receive updates about your application. At peak periods around the deadlines, status updates on the portal are not immediate, so please allow for processing time. If you have questions about the status of your application, you can always call 800-GO-CLARK or email our office.

How many letters of recommendation does Clark require?

Two: One from your guidance counselor and one from one of your academic subject teachers. If your guidance counselor doesn't write letters of recommendation, contact our office. Letters from music, art or business teachers, or letters from coaches, don't fulfill the academic subject teacher requirement.

Should I submit additional letters of recommendation if I have them?

You can submit other letters of recommendation if you think they add significant details and information to your application. We'll accept as many letters as you care to provide, but quality is far more important than quantity.

I'm an artist/musician/filmmaker. Should I include supplemental materials (like artwork, CDs or DVDs) with my application?

While Clark does not require such materials from students as part of their applications, we know how important they can be to understanding you as a person, so we'll review them if submitted.

Do I need an admissions interview to apply to Clark?

Clark doesn't require admissions interviews, and we don't offer formal interviews as part of our application review process. However, we encourage you to sign up for Lunch with a Clarkie as part of a campus visit. This informal conversation matches you with an undergraduate student who can answer your questions and give you an idea of what it's really like to be a student at Clark. You can schedule Lunch with a Clarkie as part of your regular visit to campus.

Admissions staff are also available to meet with students and families with specific questions. Meetings can be arranged individually by contacting the counselor assigned to your region. During the fall, when our staff is visiting schools around the country, they may also contact you about informal conversation opportunities in your area.

I have been matched with a Clark alumnus/a for a conversation but have not been contacted. Who should I talk to about this?

You can contact the Admissions Office by calling 800-GO-CLARK or 800-462-5275, and we'll look into it for you.

Does your office have to receive my entire application by the deadline? Will you still review my application if some components are late?

We strongly encourage applicants to submit all required materials by the deadline; however, we recognize it may not be possible in some cases. It's most important that we receive your personal part of the application (Common Application, supplement, $60 application fee and essay) by the deadline. Your other credentials may arrive after the deadline.

If your application remains incomplete it will be withdrawn, but only after we have attempted to notify you by email regarding the missing materials. Remember, it's your responsibility to ensure your application is complete.

If I am admitted Early Decision, when will my deposit be due?

Your nonrefundable deposit is due by Jan. 15.

When will I find out a decision on my application?

  • First-year applicants for the spring semester: Early to mid-December
  • Early Action and Early Decision applicants: Mid-December
  • First-year regular applicants for fall semester: March

How will I be notified of Clark's decision?

All decisions are released through our applicant portal to your personal account, so you will be able to log in from anywhere to see your decision.

Can I call your office to find out if I am admitted?

No, we do not release admission decisions over the phone.

Can I defer my enrollment if I am admitted?

An admitted student who wishes to postpone his or her enrollment for up to a year must submit a request in writing by May 1. A nonrefundable deposit (credited toward first-semester charges) is required. A student who enrolls in a degree-seeking program in the interim may not defer enrollment but must reactivate his or her application and submit official transcripts for review.

What if I am not admitted Early Decision or Early Action?

Applicants may be deferred to the regular admission pool if the Admissions Committee expects that their application will improve given the extra time. In these cases, we welcome any additional information such as senior grades, additional standardized test scores or recommendations.