Should You Apply Early Action

What is Early Action (EA)?

Early Action allows students to apply and receive an admission decision earlier in senior year. Unlike Early Decision, Early Action is not a binding agreement. If you’re admitted in the EA round, you can still apply to other colleges and will have until May 1 to make your final decision. The most common EA deadlines fall in November and December, although a few schools have slightly earlier or later EA deadlines. EA applicants typically receive their admission decision six to eight weeks after the EA deadline.

Will I have better chances of being admitted if I apply Early Action?

It depends. At some colleges, there’s not much difference in the admission rates between students who apply EA and those who apply in the regular decision round. At many EA colleges, however, the percentage admitted in the EA round is higher than in the regular decision round. If you would be a solid candidate in the regular decision round, and are able to prepare a strong application by the EA deadline, you may have slightly higher chances if you apply in the EA round at these colleges. However, students who need more time to bring up their grades or test scores, or to finish their applications, may find that they’ll have a better chance of admission by waiting to apply in the regular decision round.

How does applying Early Action affect financial aid?

Students will typically receive the same need-based financial aid package when they apply Early Action that they would if they applied during the regular admissions cycle. Unlike when you’ve received an Early Decision acceptance to which you must commit, when you’ve been admitted through Early Action, your family will still be able to compare financial aid offers from any other colleges that admit you before you make your final decision about where to attend.

Can a student apply to different colleges using both ED and EA?

You may only apply Early Decision to one college at a time. If you apply to a college in the ED1 round and are denied or deferred, you may apply in the ED2 round at another college. A student applying ED can usually apply Early Action to other colleges. However, some colleges have Early Action restrictions that prohibit students from applying under Early Decision or Early Action elsewhere. Because each college has its own rules, the best bet is to carefully review each college’s instructions before applying early to more than one college.

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