Early Action vs Early Decision: How Should I Apply these Two? : Current School News

Early Action vs Early Decision: How Should I Apply these Two?

Filed in Articles by on January 5, 2022



Early Action vs Early Decision –

With early action vs early decision, prospective students may apply to their first-choice schools prior to regular applicants.

Regarding this, students will also get to receive an admission decision sooner than they would expect under regular decisions. 

This article covers everything you would like to know about the differences that exist between early action and early decision. This is paramount important so that students can pick the application option that best suits their needs.

Early Decision

A hasty decision is irreversible. If they accept you through early decision, you are committing to attend that school and will withdraw any applications you may have submitted for other schools’ usual deadlines. With an early decision, you may not apply to over one college.

They will either reject you or postpone if they do not approve you. Rejected applicants are not eligible to apply the following year.

Applicants deferred will have their applications reassessed during the regular admission season, and they will be free to apply to other schools.

Regarding early action vs early decision, early decision dates are frequently in November, with students receiving notification in December.

Before applying to an early decision institution, a student must be certain of his or her choices. Prospective students can apply to other institutions regularly, but they cannot apply to any other college on an early decision basis. They will withdraw any additional applications if they accept the student.

The “binding” agreement of early decision is a widespread misunderstanding. Accepted applicants to this program have pledged to attend only that college in the fall. It does not mean that if a student chooses not to attend, they can take legal action against him or her.

However, because the applicant must attend that college under the terms of her early choice, she still cannot enroll in another school during the academic year of which they accept her.

Applicants may want to consider taking a gap year and reapplying to other universities for the next academic year if their hearts alter. If a student has rejected an early decision acceptance at another college, other colleges will not allow him or her to attend.

Typically, students apply for early decisions without knowing what type of financial help they would receive. Financial aid may be a viable cause for some institutions to breach the binding attendance agreement.

Before applying early decision, find out if a financial aid award may affect a student’s decision to attend a specific school.

Early Action

Early Action

Early action isn’t legally binding. If they approve you, you are not obligated to attend. You can also apply for early action at several colleges at the same time. Early action deadlines frequently coincide with early decision deadlines.

The obvious advantage of early action versus early decision is that it allows you to apply to multiple schools and examine their financial help offerings.

If they accept your early decision, you run the danger of missing other schools’ admission deadlines while waiting for your award package to arrive. If that prize isn’t really impressive, you’ll have fewer possibilities.

The attendance agreement is the most significant distinction between early decision and early action programs. Students accepted through early action programs have the option to decline the offer and attend a different school without consequence.

The program’s nonbinding nature also permits pupils to apply early to a variety of colleges. This is beneficial for students who require financial aid and want to compare award offers from several colleges.

Some colleges, such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, only offer single-choice early action programs, which allow students to commit to only one early action college.

To fully understand what is an early action, it is a nonbinding option that permits students to apply and maybe get accepted to one or more schools significantly sooner than ordinary applicants.

You normally have until early or mid-November to submit your early action application materials, which include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Early intervention is critical. Schools usually send their decisions in December, January, or February, and they usually admit students until May 1 which is the national response date that they get to respond to their offer.

This also allows students to compare financial aid packages from different colleges.

Early action that isn’t binding is the norm, allowing you to apply to many universities. However, some competitive schools, such as Ivy League schools like Harvard and Princeton, have tight early action policies.

This means you can only apply early decisions to one school, but you can apply the ordinary decisions to other colleges.

Application Deadlines

Regarding early action vs early decision, applications are usually submitted by November 1, but this date may vary depending on the college.

Most students will hear by mid-December, well before most institutions’ traditional January acceptance deadlines.

If they postponed a student, they will place him or her in the regular admissions pool and will not hear until late March or early April.

Why You Apply Early

The early application might benefit both students and colleges. Early decision programs at schools have greater acceptance percentages for early decision applicants than for the entire application pool.

Colleges value early decision over early action because it allows them to identify the number of accepted applicants who ultimately enroll. This is essential to schools since it affects their rankings and attractiveness to potential students.

Stephanie Klein Wassink, the founder of AdmissionsCheckup.com and a former member of the Northwestern University admissions committee, makes another case for applying early.

“Do you believe it’s easier to impress a college admissions officer when your applicant 31 or application 1,031?” she asks, putting herself in the shoes of the admissions officer. She says.

What You Should Consider

Early applications are more likely to be accepted by students who have good junior-year grades and standardized test scores.

Those whose applications would benefit from improved fall semester grades or who are taking the ACT or SAT in the fall semester should wait until normal admission to apply.

Above all, a student who selects early decision must be certain of his or her decision before applying. Early action gives more flexibility for people who are ready to apply but are unsure of their options.

Ultimately, receiving early admission could mean a less stressful senior year for savvy applicants.

Our Advice

early action vs early decision

For early action vs early decision, if you’re confident that you’ve discovered your best-fit school, that it’s one you want to attend, that you’re a solid contender for admission, and that you can afford the tuition.

That’s a lot of research and comparing to do by the fall of your senior year, and you’re not alone if you’re unsure about any of those variables. Apply early action or by the usual deadline to keep your choices open.

Do All Colleges Offer Early Decision or Early Action?

Regarding early action vs early decision, they are not available at every institution or university, however. According to College board, roughly 450 universities provide an early decision or early action option, with some offering both.

Babson College, for example, has two early decision enrollment periods. Both alternatives are available to students who have chosen Babson as their first choice.

They designed early Decision II to offer you a little more time to improve your application materials, whether that means enhancing your grades or a test score.

The deadline to apply for Early Decision I is in November, while the Early II deadline is in January.

Jared Pierce, Babson’s Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission, adds, “We wanted to come up with an approach that would give applicants have more time to put together their application.”

You can use that extra time to improve your grades so they better represent your ability, or you can take the ACT or SAT if you wish.

“Or maybe you’ve just discovered they completely sold Babson and,” Pierce adds. Students who discover their first choice later in the school year can still apply early decisions.

Regardless of whether you apply to Early Decision I or Early Decision II, you are committing to attend that college if you apply early.

A student may apply early decision to one school, receive notification that they did not accept them, and then choose to apply early decision to their second-choice school.

Early Action vs Regular Decision Acceptance Rates

While applying for early shows a college that you are serious about the institution and its programs, it does not guarantee admittance.

The number of applicants will decide the charges. “When compared to conventional decision pools, the size of early decision pools is substantially lower,” he says. “And the pool size fluctuates every year.” For example, Babson’s early action application pool in 2021 was the largest it had ever been.

“More students prefer to get their admission letter sooner and have more time to make their decision rather than waiting a month or two to decide where they want to spend the next four years,” Pierce explains.

What is his advice regarding early action vs early decision? Make sure you’re submitting early decision or early action applications to colleges you’re serious about attending. “We want to make sure Babson is the right institution for you, not simply another school,” said the admissions committee.

Pierce also emphasizes that the admission conditions remain the same. “Whether you use early decision, early action, or ordinary decision, we’re looking for the same things.”

Can I Apply Regular Decision if I Don’t Get Accepted Early?

If you apply for early decision or early action and they don’t accept you, you cannot reapply for regular decision. You can apply as a transfer student or reapply the following year.

Many institutions, however, may defer your application until the regular decision round for review if you submit an early decision or early action application.

Check with each school to see whether deferment is available. This may influence whether you want to apply early or wait until the end of the process to improve your application for a regular decision.

If they deferred you, the college will notify you. When many strong applicants request for early decision or early action, this is common.

You are no longer in a contract if you apply early decision and they delay it to a regular decision.

Top 3 Benefits of Applying to College Early

early action vs early decision

Applying to college under an early action or early decision plan offers several advantages. This typically means that it will open you to many updates such as;

1. Getting an Admission Decision Earlier

When you apply to college early, your application is due sooner usually in November than conventional applications, which are due in January.

As a result, you can expect to receive your acceptance decision sooner, usually by the middle of December. This can help you avoid the stress of waiting for admission decisions in the spring and helps you to make more informed college decisions sooner.

2. Finishing the College Application Process Sooner

You can finish the college application process faster if you get accepted to a school as early as December than if you apply the ordinary decision.

This permits you to enjoy the rest of your senior year without the stress of receiving college acceptance letters in the spring.

3. You May Have a Higher Chance of Getting Accepted

According to research conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, applying early decision increases your chances of being accepted.

This is because the college knows you’ll attend if you’re accepted, boosting the school’s yield, or the percentage of admitted applicants who agree to enroll.

Dartmouth College, for example, has admitted to admitting a higher proportion of early decision applications than regular selection applicants.

Others, like Brown University, claim to use the same admissions criterion to all students, regardless of when they submit.

Popular Schools Offering Early Action

Regarding early action vs early decision, let’s look at some of the most popular schools that offer early action. Keep in mind that these schools are the recommended schools to rely upon. Below are the best recommendations.

➛ Georgetown University

➛ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

➛ Northeastern University

➛The University of Michigan

➛ The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What is Early Decision?

What Is Early Decision?

Top-performing students who have chosen their first-choice college usually benefit from early decision. The institution will demand signatures from you, your family, and a school counselor because it is a legally enforceable agreement.

It is noteworthy that early decision schools are usually private and very selective.

You’ll get an admission decision in or around December if you apply early decision, and you’ll have to enroll if approved. If the school’s financial aid package does not match your needs, this is often the lone exception.

Most accepted students submit their nonrefundable deposits before May 1. You must also withdraw any other college applications you may have and may not apply to any further schools.

If they refuse you, they may likely postpone you to the regular candidate pool, which will allow you to be considered for admission on a nonbinding basis. However, most early decision rejections are final.

Popular Schools Offering Early Decision

➛ Boston University

➛ Columbia University

➛ New York University

➛ Rice University

➛ Washington University in St. Louis

Choosing Between Early Action vs. Early Decision

Regarding early action vs early decision, here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to apply early action or early decision to a college.

➛ Do You Have a Clear Top-Choice College?

If you’re serious about attending your dream institution and it has an early decision program, you’ll almost certainly benefit from applying early.

If you have several top-choice schools and would be content to attend any of the universities on your list, early action or regular decision may be the preferable option.

➛  Are You a Competitive Applicant?

Students who know what their top-choice colleges are and who are competitive applicants with strong letters of recommendation, a high GPA, a rigorous course load, a well-written personal statement, and (if required) competitive SAT/ACT scores benefit most from early admissions processes, particularly early decision.

Check the official website of your top-choice institution to see if you’re competitive. Early action or early decision may be an excellent step if your high school GPA, class rank, and standardized test results exceed that college’s first-year profile.

➛ How Much Financial Aid Does the School Typically Offer?

Before applying early action or early decision, think about a school’s average or expected financial help package.

Though early admission colleges try to tailor a package to your family’s financial position, others have larger endowments and can thus offer more competitive packages.

Remember that you won’t be able to compare aid packages if you apply early decision, so make sure the school will provide you with enough aid ahead of time.

➛ Do You Have Enough Time to Prepare Your Application?

If you apply early to one or more institutions, you’ll have more time to assemble all of your application materials than if you applied a normal decision.

Examine your fall schedule to see if there are any roadblocks to submitting a college application by November.

➛ What Early Admission Plans Do Your Target Schools Offer?

For deciding between early action vs early decision, you may not have much of a choice. Most colleges and universities only provide one of the two options.

However, certain colleges, like Northeastern University and the University of Virginia, provide early action and early decision options.

The Reason for Applying Early

The Reason for Applying Early

Early decision (ED) and early action (EA) programs can help students who have carefully evaluated their college options and have a strong preference for one institution.

Early decision plans are legally binding, and they required a student accepted as an ED applicant to attend the college.

Early action plans are nonbinding agreements in which students receive an early response to their application but they will not require them to commit to the college until the standard response date. Counselors must ensure that kids realize the significant differences between the two plans.

Regarding early action vs early decision, about 450 colleges provide plans with some offering both for students. Single-choice early action is a nonbinding option offered by some universities, in which applicants may not apply ED or EA to any other college.

Students from low-income families have complained that ED plans are unfair since they can not compare financial help options. This may offer applicants from households with more financial resources an unfair advantage.

Process of Early Decision

The following process applies to Early Decision Applicants should in case students are interested in applying. Students should note that they should:

Apply early (usually in November) to first-choice college.

Receive an admission decision from the college well before the usual notification date (usually by December).

Agree to attend the college if accepted and offered a financial aid package that is adequate by the family.

Apply to only one college early decision.

Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.

Withdraw all other applications if accepted by ED.

Send a non-refundable deposit well before May 1.

Process of Early Action

Apply early.

Receive an admission decision early in the admission cycle (usually in January or February).

Consider acceptance offer; do not have to commit upon receipt.

Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.

Give the college a decision no later than the May 1 national response date.

Who Should Apply Early?

Regarding early action vs early decision, the application is most appropriate for students who:

Has researched colleges extensively.

Is absolutely sure that the college is the first choice.

Has found a college that is a powerful match academically, socially, and geographically.

Meets or exceeds the admission profile for the college for SAT® scores, GPA, and class rank.

Has an academic record that has been consistently solid.

However, applying to an ED or EA plan is not appropriate for a student who:

Has not thoroughly researched colleges.

Is applying early just to avoid stress and paperwork.

It will not fully commit them to attend college.

Is applying early only because friends are.

Needs a strong senior fall semester to bring grades up.

Encourage students who want to apply early to fill out NACAC’s Early Decision Self-Evaluation Questionnaire, in the Deciding About Early Decision and Early Action handout. Share this with parents as well.

The Benefits of Applying Early

For a student who has a definite first-choice college, applying early has many benefits besides possibly increasing the chance of getting in. Applying early allows the student to:

Reduce stress by cutting the time spent waiting for a decision.

Save the time and expense of submitting multiple applications.

Gain more time, once accepted, to look for housing and otherwise prepare for college.

Reassess options and apply elsewhere if not accepted.

The Drawbacks of Applying Early

Regarding early action vs early decision, there are several drawbacks to be noted before deciding on whatever application process you want to make. Given below are some of the vital strategies to be noted.

➛ Pressure to decide: Committing to one college will put pressure on students to decide on serious decisions before they’ve explored all their options.

➛ Reduced financial aid opportunities: Students who apply through the ED plan will receive acceptance and financial aid offers and cannot compare financial aid offers from other universities.

Early application may be a risky alternative for individuals who need financial aid.

➛ Time crunch for other applications: Most institutions do not tell ED and EA applicants of their acceptance until the 15th of December.

Because of the regular application deadlines, this implies that the ED college will not favour the student, and as a result, they only have two weeks given to apply to other colleges.

Encourage your pupils who are applying early to prepare additional applications while they wait for their first-choice college’s acceptance decision.

➛ Senior Applicants: Applicants who found admitted to college early in the year may believe they have no motivation to work hard for the rest of the year now that they have achieved their aim.

Early applying students should know if their senior-year grades fall below a certain level, universities may withdraw their admission offers.

Students and parents can consider their options using the tools in the Deciding About Early Decision and Early Action handout.

Does Applying Early Increase the Chance of Acceptance?

early action vs early decision

Many students feel that by applying early, they will compete with fewer applications and so have a better chance of being accepted.

This isn’t always the case, though. The percentage of students admitted early and the percentage of early applicants admitted vary by college.

They may join higher admission rates for ED applicants to those with higher profiles. Students should inquire about whether their institution’s admission standards change for ED and regular applicants, and then consider whether applying early makes sense for them given their personal profile.

The Ethics of Applying Early Decision

The Common Application and various college application forms require the student, parent, and counselor who are applying early decision to sign an ED agreement form outlining the plan’s terms.

Make it clear in your school handbook and at college planning activities that your early decision application policy is to send the student’s final transcript to only one college: anything else is unethical.

Keep in mind that the details of the Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) programs differ, so students should gain information from their first-choice college’s admissions department as soon as possible.

ED and EA applicants must take the October SAT or SAT Subject Tests™ in order for these scores to make it to the college in time.

Be sure to print out and share the Early Decision and Early Action Calendar with students and parents to be aware of all the required steps for applying early.

Why Students Should Consider Early Action or Early Decision

Colleges reported greater acceptance percentages for early action and early decision candidates than for regular decision applicants, according to the NACAC’s 2019 State of College Admission Report.

According to Nulan, academically strong students are more likely to apply early, which explains why admission rates are higher.

“We’re filling our class with kids who have shown a strong interest in us by taking early action or, even better, making an early decision,” Nulan says.

Another advantage, according to admissions authorities, is that if they accept a student through early action or early decision, he or she can complete the college application process.

They usually made these early stage decisions in December or January.

However, applying early means hastening the admissions process. Admissions documents must normally be sent by November or December, though the date varies by college.

Before submitting an Early Action or Early Decision application, students should know the following information.

While early action and early decision deadlines are earlier, the college application process is essentially similar to the regular approach.

Caffey notes that “in terms of the admission procedure, both of the plans are identical,” to an ordinary decision.

Students contemplating early action or early decision should get a head start because it required sooner admissions materials. Students can use a College Board calendar to keep track of the deadlines they must meet during the early action or early decision process.

“All the materials you must submit are the same. It’s simply a matter of shifting deadlines up months in advance “Nulan explains.

That includes approaching teachers and counselors early in the junior year of high school for letters of recommendation.

Applying early may not be the best option if a kid isn’t on pace academically and could benefit from another semester of high school study.

“They need to do their homework to understand where they are now in relation to that school’s academic profile,” Caffey advises, advising students to look at profiles of classes that they have admitted them to the institution.

Typically, this information may be available on a college’s website, and it commonly contains information about a student’s GPA and test scores for classes that have accepted them.

What NACAC Rule Changes Mean for Early Action and Early Decision

What NACAC Rule Changes Mean for Early Action and Early Decision

Last year, NACAC changed its Code of Ethics and Professional Practices in response to a Department of Justice antitrust investigation that claimed some of the code’s provisions hampered student competition and amounted to collusion by colleges to deny students choice, which NACAC denied.

The revisions made it possible for member schools to offer special incentives to students who applied early action or early decision.

It also permits colleges to pursue students who have already committed to another university; it allows colleges to give enrollment incentives to students who have already committed, and it allows universities to attract students who have already enrolled at another institution.

Some institutions have offered incentives for students who apply early as they have introduced the reforms.

“Some have offered early registration, early academic advising,” says Madeleine Rhyneer, vice president of consultancy services and dean of enrollment management at EAB. She also mentions the prospect of larger scholarship offers.

However, such perks are unlikely to be available at highly selective universities with large applicant pools. “These aren’t the kinds of things that the most prestigious schools would undertake because they don’t have to,” Rhyneer says.

So far in the first admissions cycle, since they amend the code, the answers to what the NACAC regulation changes mean on a wide scale for early action and early decision are unknown.

“I think there’s a lot of unknown right now,” Caffey says, adding that he believes it will be beneficial to some pupils while being detrimental to others.

Nulan holds a similar viewpoint. She believes if schools add previously prohibited incentives to early action and early decision, it will assist economically disadvantaged applicants because they are more likely to apply through those channels.

“My concern is that it could be harmful to kids who are already facing the most challenges and impediments in our process, and who may make a poor decision because they don’t know any better. And no one around them is aware of the situation.”

Get Help to Decide Between Early Decision vs Early Action vs Regular Decision

Contact your admissions advisor if you’re still undecided about which option is best for you. Pierce claims that he and his colleagues at Babson assist students in developing an application strategy. “We can advise students on what makes the most sense given their circumstances.”

Stover concurs. “One of the beautiful things about Babson is that we can engage with families one-on-one,” she adds, noting that she and her colleagues frequently speak with students whom they have accepted but do not attend Babson. “And that’s fine!” she emphasizes.

She and her colleagues also assist first-time applicants in determining where they stand in the application process. “Many families may look at the price and go on to the next college,” Stover notes. However, having a discussion can help families realize Babson might be cheaper than they think.

To gain a solid estimate of prices, Stover advises prospective students to use net pricing calculators. She compares it to buying a house and says, “You wouldn’t buy a house without knowing the price.”

The College board’s net price calculation takes roughly 15 minutes to complete. With only six questions, another from MyinTuition is speedier.

“Once you receive your result, we’ll be pleased to go over it with you and check if there were any errors, explain why the numbers are what they are, and even help you understand where you stand in terms of other financial aid candidates.”

To be sure which whether early decision, early action, or regular decision is the best fit for you, we recommend that you contact your admissions advisor as he will get to assist you and develop a decision application for you. Cheers!

CSN Team.

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