Early Action

Essay Prompt
Sample Essay

Early Action (EA) admission plans typically have an earlier application submission deadline than Regular Decision. EA plans are not binding. You can apply to as many EA college as you like, unless you are applying somewhere Restrictive Early Action (REA), which limits you to one early application total.  

You’ll have to do a bit of strategizing around the various early admission options for your slate of schools. There's no one right answer here for everyone, so think through your options carefully and decide what level of risk you’re willing to take.

Note: if you're not seeing the EA option in the drop-down menu, check to see which start (or entry) term you have selected. If a college offers EA and also offers more than one start (entry) term, you might not be able to to apply EA for anything other than the Fall term. In that case, the EA option will disappear from the drop-down after you have selected that alternate start term. It should reappear if you pick the Fall term.

When can applying EA help? EA won't help your odds, but you might like the possibility of receiving a decision sooner rather than later. Consider EA only if:

  • your credentials for admission are competitive for this college (click here to determine your competitiveness for any U.S. college) AND
  • your credentials won't be significantly improved by things you will do after the early deadline has passed (better grades, better test scores, major activity accomplishment, etc.)

If you do apply ED, there are typically three possible outcomes:

  1. Admitted out of the EA round: Congratulations! Also, because EA is not binding, you are allowed to apply elsewhere (with deadlines that haven't passed yet) and you can also wait for other results and compare financial aid awards.

  2. Denied out of the EA round: Sad face... but you still have time to apply elsewhere. If you're denied out of the EA round, you typically won't be able to reapply to that same college in later rounds in that admissions cycle.

  3. Deferred from the EA round into the Regular round: This means that they are bumping you over to the Regular Decision pool, which means you're still in the running. You are also free to submit applications elsewhere with deadlines that are still in the future (RD, later ED deadlines such as ED2, etc.)

Artists and Recruited Athletes:

Recruited athletes are often encouraged to apply early. Artists who are applying to programs with auditions or portfolio reviews as conditions for admission are often prohibited from applying early, or they might not given a decision in the early round. If you are a recruited athlete or are submitting a required arts supplement or portfolio, contact the college and find out if there are special rules that apply to you with respect to Regular vs. Early.

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