What is Early Action?
Early action (EA) is the option to submit your college application for a specific university by an earlier deadline than the regular decision deadline.
Early action and regular decision deadlines vary depending upon what college you are applying to, but by and large, most EA applications are due between November 1st and 15th. Although some college’s deadlines are as early as mid-October or as late as December 1st. Regular decision deadlines are usually January 1st. But again, it can vary from school to school.
Students usually apply EA only to their top choice schools.
During your senior year, you have to get many items ready for your college application – essays, test scores, recommendations, resumes, etc. Plus, many schools will have supplemental essay or application requirements. You are going to be very busy!
So why do students add the extra component of getting all these application items ready early? What are the benefits of applying Early Action?
Here are the 3 main reasons:
#1. You eliminate stress
You may think getting your college application ready by November, rather than January, sounds more stressful. However, one of the key benefits of applying early action is to increase your peace of mind!
Students who apply early also get the college’s decision early. You will find out if you were accepted or rejected to the school much earlier than regular decision applicants – usually by December or January.
Picture it: Your classmates are biting their nails until March or April, waiting to see if they got accepted into any of the colleges to which they applied. Meanwhile, you’ve already celebrated your acceptance letter 3 months ago, and are now focused on picking out your college dorm decorations!
Plus, if you are rejected by your EA school(s), you still have time to refocus and apply to other colleges before the regular decision deadline. Regular decision applicants don’t have that option.
#2. You’re compared to a smaller pool of applicants
A strong majority of students wait until January to submit their applications. So when you apply early action, your application is compared to a smaller group of students who also applied early. This gives you just one more advantage when applying to your more competitive, top choice colleges.
Now to be fair, these students tend to have stronger resumes, GPAs, and test scores than regular decision applicants because – like you- they got all their grades, scores, and essays ready by November. However, by being part of this top group, you demonstrate to a college your dedication and desire to attend their school.
Furthermore, even if you are not accepted, you might not be rejected either. For EA applicants, admission officers have a 3rd option: they can defer you. This means that while they didn’t accept you during the early round of applications, they are moving you to the regular decision application pool. Your application will be reviewed again after the regular decision deadline, giving you a 2nd opportunity to be accepted.
#3. Early action is non-binding
Early action is also non-binding, meaning you can apply to as many school as you want before their EA deadlines, and you are under no obligation to attend.
This is different from Early decision applications. Like EA, Early decision (ED) is an application that is submitted usually in November with decisions typically released mid-December. However, when you apply ED you sign an agreement that if accepted to that school, you will attend. You cannot compare financial aid packages, and if accepted in mid-December, you cannot apply to other schools during regular decision. You are obligated to attend that college.
That’s why students should only apply early decision to their #1 top choice college.
With EA, on the other hand, you do not sign an agreement. So you can apply to multiple schools during EA and regular decision. If you’re then accepted to multiple colleges, you have the freedom and time to weigh which college is the best fit for you academically, culturally, and financially.
If you want expert guidance on putting together your EA, ED, or regular decision college application check out our College Admissions Counseling programs, such as Roadmap to College or Application Essay Writing.
Call 855-346-1410 to learn more today.
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