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Early Action and Early Decision: understand the difference

September 18th, 2018

Is your heart set on one particular college?  Should you apply Early (note the capital “E”) to signal your devotion?  

  

Our last blog post focused on demonstrated interest.  Applying Early Action or Early Decision certainly allows colleges to see your level of interest in attending.  Many colleges admit Early Action and Early Decision candidates at higher rates than we see in the Regular Decision pool.

Applying Early Action involves no risk for the applicant.  It simply moves the deadline to an earlier date, typically November 1, and applicants receive admission decisions well ahead of Regular Decision timetables.  We believe that Early Action programs without strings are wonderful pathways for applications.

In contrast, Early Decision is binding.  This is an enormous commitment and you must be 110% certain that this is where you would like to enroll.  As with Early Action, the accelerated timetable allows for a much earlier decision to be returned, typically ahead of winter break.  If you’re certain about wanting to enroll, this is a great pathway … but if you worry that you might look back in March and wish your other applications were still active, then it’s the wrong choice.

(Interesting aside:  Early Decision is even making its way into the boarding school world!)

A small number of extraordinarily selective colleges offer their own twist on Early Action, called Restrictive Early Action or Single Choice Early Action.  In these cases, students may not simultaneously apply for Early Decision elsewhere and in some cases, they may not even apply Early Action at other private schools.  Make sure that you’re reading the fine print when going this route.

Would you like to learn more about the difference between Early Action and Early Decision?  The article linked below from CNBC highlights exactly what you need to know to make your best choice.

Article referenced below published on November 1, 2017 by CNBC, written by Abigail Hess

This month, thousands of high school students will submit early action (EA) and early decision (ED) applications to colleges.

The deadlines for these types of applications are typically between November 1st and November 15th. Applying early action or early decision each have their benefits, but they’re very different.

“Most people pair early action and early decision because of shared deadlines, but I find that the only similarity between the two is the timeline,” says Ian Fisher, director of educational counseling at educational advising firm College Coach.

“EA is actually much more similar to regular decision, both in terms of the competitiveness of the pool and the freedom to choose from among a range of options once they’ve been admitted.”

 

Read more at CNBC >>

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