ED/EA Application Planning

SCAD-logoApplying in the Early Decision Round, Early Action Round, or Regular Round

Applying in the early round to U.S. universities has its advantages and drawbacks.  Statistics show that universities often accept a higher percentage of applicants in the early rounds (deadline is usually Nov. 1) than they do in the Regular Decision (RD) round (deadline is often Jan. 1).  Most early plans have the added benefit of an early response, usually by mid-December.

Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) plans can benefit students who have all their testing (SAT or ACT as well as SAT Subject Tests) completed early and have a clear preference for one college or university.

Early Decision versus Early Action

Early Decision plans are binding – meaning a student who chooses to apply ED to a university often applies to one single university in the early round and will have to attend that university, if admitted.  Those accepted ED will also have to withdraw any RD applications they might have already sent in.  Students who need financial aid are often advised not to apply to a binding ED plan in order to give themselves the opportunity to choose their best financial offer among their acceptances.  Students, parents, and the school counselor will have to sign an agreement confirming that they understand the conditions of the ED plan and its binding nature.

Early Action plans are non-binding – meaning students will have their decision in December but can apply to other universities in the EA and RD rounds and make a final decision by May 1st.

There are variations to the EA plan.  Some universities allow students to apply to multiple schools in the EA round, others restrict student to only one application in the EA round.  The latter is often labeled single-choice early action or restricted early action.  There are also universities that have a standard EDI plan as well as a second EDII plan with a later application deadline and response date.

Applying early has the following benefits:monkey

  • Higher acceptance rates
  • Less stress and less waiting time for the final decision
  • Savings in terms of expenses and the time consumed by submitting multiple applications
  • Reassessing one’s options and adjusting the university list in case of being denied admission or paring down the list in case of gaining admission to a top choice university

Different universities have varying decision plans.  Students are advised to check the admissions section of the website for each and every university to which they intend to apply in order to verify what the options are in order to make an informed choice about which admission plan suits the student’s individual needs.  Students applying by the November 1 ED or EA deadlines should aim to complete all standardized testing by the end of October.

Rolling Admission: Larger state universities offer a rolling admission plan where complete applications are reviewed as soon as they are submitted and decisions are sent out as they are reached.  For these schools, it is best to apply early to maximize your chance of admission.

Contact Select College Admissions to finalize your university list and to determine your best strategy for admission, making a decision between ED, ED I/II, EA, SCEA, REA, RD and Rolling Decision plans which suit you and your family.