early action vs early decision

Shortlisting colleges in the US is one of the most crucial steps in the application process. Every child puts together a list of dream, match and safety schools. Should you prove your love by applying early to one of these schools?

ED v/s EA

Early decision is when the student is bound to attend college if accepted. You may not apply to more than one college under early decision. If you are not accepted, you will either be rejected or deferred. Rejected applicants may not apply again that year. Deferred applicants will be reconsidered during the regular admission period, and are free to apply to other schools. Early decision deadlines are often in November, and students are typically notified of the decision in December.

Early action on the contrary is non-binding, which means the student receives the response but does not have to commit until May 1. You may also apply early action to multiple colleges. Early action deadlines usually fall at the same time as early decision.

The obvious advantage of early action over early decision is the opportunity it gives you to apply to, and ultimately compare financial aid packages from several schools. If you are accepted early decision, you risk missing the admission deadlines of other schools while you wait for your award package to arrive. If that award is lackluster, your options are fewer.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages to get a clearer picture.


Shows you are serious
Reduce stress by cutting the time spent waiting for a decision.
Save the time and expense of submitting multiple applications.
Gain more time, once accepted, to look for housing and otherwise prepare for college.
Reassess options and apply elsewhere if not accepted.


Pressure to decide
Reduced financial aid opportunities
Time crunch for other applications: Most colleges do not notify ED and EA applicants of admission until December 15. Because of the usual deadlines for applications, this means that if a student is rejected by the ED College, there are only two weeks left to send in other applications.
Senioritis: Applicants who learn early that they have been accepted into a college may feel that, their goal accomplished, they have no reason to work hard for the rest of the year. Early-applying students should know that colleges may rescind offers of admission should their senior-year grades drop.

3RDiConsulting Advice

If you’re sure that you’ve found your best-fit school, you know it’s one you want to attend, you’re a strong candidate for admission, and you know that you can afford the tuition, go ahead and apply early decision.

Don’t Forget

ED and EA program specifics vary, so students should get information as soon as possible directly from the admission staff at their first-choice college.
ED and EA applicants must take the October SAT or SAT Subject Tests™ in order for these scores to make it to the college in time.