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Early Decision vs. Early Action


Tips for seniors applying to colleges/universities early:

Some advice for students thinking about applying to college by early decision or action:

College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won!
  • Early Decision: Students must apply early, generally by November. Colleges inform students by the end of December if they have been admitted. If students get in under early decision, they agree to withdraw any other college applications and attend that school.
  • Early Action: Students apply early. Colleges let students know by January or February if they've been admitted. If students get in under early action, they can still apply to other schools and wait until spring (May 1) to decide where to go. This can be an advantage if they need financial aid because they have time to weigh offers from several different schools.
  • Single-choice Early Action: Similar to early action, however, students can choose only one school to apply to early under this option. Only the schools most in demand offer this option.
  • Do your research! Read your dream school literature, study the web site, and above all, visit the campus!
  • When you visit, talk to students. That's how you'll get a feel for the place.
  • Choose a school that feels like a good match, not necessarily the one that boasts the highest ranking.
  • Think about financial aid. If you're relying on financial aid, it may be smarter to keep your options open so you can compare offers.
  • Consider your senior year grades. If they'll help your chances, it probably makes more sense to apply under the traditional deadline.
  • In other words, apply early decision only if you've thoroughly researched a school, visited at least once and are sure you want to go there!