Application Checklist

First Year Students


We offer a wide range of choices for applying to McDaniel so that you can choose the best option for yourself. It is our practice to make merit scholarship decisions at the time we make admission decisions, so be sure to include all your honors and activities in your application or attach a resume. You also have the option of receiving your need-based financial aid award shortly after your admission and scholarship, depending on when you file the FAFSA. You control the timing of when and how you apply, so if McDaniel is your first choice, you can apply early, deposit promptly and enjoy the rest of your senior year. If you have many college choices, you can still apply early and receive information, but take all the time you need until May 1 to make a good decision.



Early Decision 1
November 1

(Binding Commitment*)

December 1

January 15

Early Action 1
November 15


December 15

May 1

Early Action 2 and Honors Consideration
December 15


January 15

May 1

Early Decision 2
January 15

(Binding Commitment)

February 1

February 15

Regular Decision
Preferred deadline:
February 1
Final deadline: July 15th


March 1

May 1

  *Binding admission means that you commit to one college only through Early Decision and you are committing to enroll and withdraw all other applications to other schools.

 **Non-binding admission means that you are free to apply to as many colleges as you like and take all spring if you like to make a college choice.


We consider any student who has not graduated from high school to be a first-year college student. Choose from five deadlines for submitting an application and complete credentials, guaranteeing an admission decision and a scholarship decision within two or three weeks of the date you select. All applicants may also complete the Net Price Calculator to receive an estimate of the financial aid possibilities available to you. Best of all, there is no obligation to deposit before May 1. If you know McDaniel is your top choice, you can deposit promptly and enjoy the rest of your senior year, or take all the time you need to make a good decision by May 1.

Pick the deadline that works best for you, and be sure that you notify the Admissions Office of your deadline choice. Look for a confirmation email once you have submitted your application asking you to verify the deadline you are requesting (or to provide one if you haven't already).

A completed application for first year students includes:

The Common Application or The McDaniel Application

A personal essay. Please write an essay (250 words minimum, 750 maximum) on one of the options listed below, and attach it to your application before submission. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself.

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Your official high school transcript. Please include all grades through junior year at minimum and your senior year schedule. Senior grades will be requested if needed.

Recommended Items May Enhance Your Application

Though not required, these items may enhance your application:

One letter of recommendation from academic sources. 

SAT or ACT scores. McDaniel College is proudly test-optional. Students who believe their test scores demonstrate their ability or enhance their application are welcome to submit them. Students who believe that standardized test scores do not accurately reflect the strength of their academic achievements or enhance their application for admission can choose not to submit test scores. In either case, test scores will not be used for the purposes of awarding merit scholarships. If you have already submitted your standardized test scores but would like to have them removed from your application consideration, you can contact us directly to request this change. Non-U.S. citizens for whom English is not the first language should submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as outlined in McDaniel College’s English Proficiency Requirement. Please note that all enrolled students who have taken an SAT or ACT test must submit their standardized test scores prior to enrollment for purposes of reporting.

All application materials may be submitted online or by regular mail—choose the option you prefer. You can submit them in any order. Once we receive all your credentials, we will include your application for review at the next available deadline. We will only review your application in one round of admission and scholarship consideration, so the deadline you choose should reflect the final credentials you intend to submit for scholarship purposes. For example, if you have additional standardized test-taking planned and you want your latest scores to be considered, or you believe your senior fall semester grades should be a critical part of your record, you should wait to apply until a deadline that follows receipt of these materials. If you have specific questions, or a special circumstance you’d like to discuss, we suggest you contact the Admissions Office by phone and speak directly to your admissions counselor.

Statement of Practices

The McDaniel community has a reputation for academic excellence, collaborative learning, and social responsibility. A commitment to the principles of truth and honesty as outlined in the Honor Code is essential to the mission and academic integrity of the College.

McDaniel College is a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, and as such adheres to the principles contained in its Statement of Principles of Good Practice.

We value the safety of all members of the McDaniel community. The McDaniel College Annual Security and Fire Safety Report can be viewed online here or a paper version of the document is available from the Office of Campus Safety by calling 410-857-2202.