Abbreviations or terms used:

(1) ROI: Return On Investment.

 is usually expressed as a percentage and is typically used for personal financial decisions, to compare the efficiency of different investments. The return on investment formula is: ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100.”  – according to

(2) ED vs EA
Early decision (ED) and early action (EA) plans can be beneficial to you if you have carefully evaluated various schools and selected a preferred one.  Usually, a popular school’s acceptance rate for ED or EA applicants is higher than that for regular applicants.

An ED applicant must attend the school which has accepted him or her.   It is a binding agreement between the applicant and the school under the ED plan.  A deposit is in place to secure the binding relationship.   Unlike the ED plan, an EA plan is not binding and an applicant can have a lot of time to decide if he or she should accept a school’s admission offer.   Normally, the decision deadline for EA plan is May 1.

(3) ED II and EA II
The second (or late) ED and EA application deadlines.

(4) Regular DL
Regular application deadline.

(5) School names:
UC: University of California
CSU: California State University
CUNY: City University of New York
SUNY: State University of New York
Cal Poly: California State Polytechnic University
NJIT: New Jersey Institute of Technology
Montana Tech: Montana Tech of the University of Montana

(1) School names with orange background do not use the Common Application Form.  They use the Coalition Application and/or use their own application forms.
(2) Our list is based on a careful research and a comprehensive comparison of many publications for best value colleges. We also obtained data from the U.S. Department of Education and schools’ websites.