Are you a high school senior working on your college applications? Would you like to receive some decisions early, but aren’t ready to commit to a specific school just yet? Then Early Action might be for you…
Early Action is an option that allows students to submit applications earlier in the fall of senior year – usually by November 1 or November 15 – and you hear back from schools typically in December or January (in some rare cases it’s February).
Early Action can be a great option if you’ve done your college research and have carefully prepared all the different parts of your application by the November deadline(s). Unlike Early Decision and Early Decision II – Early Action is not binding. This means that if you’re accepted, you don’t have to decide if you’re going to enroll until May 1st, the universal reply date. You can hang on to your acceptance letter until you hear back from the rest of the colleges you applied to…and then make your final decision about where to attend. This gives you the opportunity to compare admissions offers and financial aid packages and to take the time you need to make a comfortable final decision.
Similar to a Regular Decision, your early application may be accepted or denied. But there is also another option: being deferred. This means that your application will be reviewed again in Regular Decision and that you’ll hear back from the admissions office in late March or April, when Regular Decision notifications are released.
For the most part, you can apply to as many Early Action colleges as you want; however, a small number of highly selective schools have Restrictive or Single-Choice Early Action, which means that you can’t apply Early Action anywhere else, unless it’s a public institution (note that you can still apply Regular Decision anywhere.) Schools with Restrictive Early Action policies include Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. Additionally, Georgetown’s Early Action policy prevents students from applying Early Decision anywhere else, but they can apply Early Action and Regular Decision to other schools.
Here is a partial list of colleges that offer Early Action: