Applying to College
Early Decision / Early Action / Regular
Most students apply to college during the regular admission time period. You will see on many applications, however, the possibility of applying either "Early Decision" or "Early Action". As the names suggest, the due date for applications under these guidelines are much earlier than for regular decision applicants.
Early Decision is binding. You must attend the college or university if you are accepted and given a reasonable financial aid package. If accepted, you must withdraw any applications sent to other schools. The school enforces this by requiring a non-refundable deposit due much earlier than for those students accepted under regular admission criteria.
Early Action is not binding. It allows you to compare admissions and financial aid offers. You can apply early, but won't have to make a decision until May 1.
*If accepted, you bypass all the admissions stress that comes with senior year.
*If you aren't accepted, in many cases your application is not rejected outright but deferred to be reconsidered with the regular admissions applicants
*Applying through either plan communicates your interest in a school and gives you the advantage of applying much earlier than most students.
*For early decision, you'll have less time to explore your options and may be forced to rule out other schools that may have offered more attractive financial aid packages.
*You won't be able to improve your profile with first semester grades and activities / athletic accomplishments.
*Early decision and early action candidates usually submit strong applications, so it may be more difficult to make yours stand out.