Meg Glass & Associates, LLC

Early Action


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Early Action is a great choice for almost all students when applying to college.  Do you just send every single Early Action school you like an application?  There are some things to learn about Early Action before you go clicking that submit button this fall.

First, there is more than one kind of Early Action option.  Yes, you need to understand and be careful when you choose to apply as to what type of Early Action the school offers.  Some offer more than one option. Some offer Early Action, Early Decision, Early Action Single Choice and Early Decision II, Rolling, and Regular.  Do you want some guidance as to how to go through and evaluate the best way to select your personal choices?  We are here to help!


So let’s define them all:


1.Early Action-This is a choice that you send in your application and all the required forms, transcripts and tests by the Early deadline.  If you get accepted, you have the option to turn down the school.  So no pressure; no commitment on your part.  Sounds great. And for many this is great.  I will explain a little wrinkle below.


2.Early Decision-This is a binding commitment for which you send in your forms and application by the early deadline, and upon acceptance, you must go to the school.


3.Early Action Single Choice-This is sometimes called Restricted Early Action by some schools.  This is a bit more restricting for your strategy because if you choose to apply to a college Early Action Single Choice, you cannot apply to any college Early Decision.  Under regular Early Action, you can apply to one school Early Decision and turn down all others you have gotten into Early Action, if you are accepted. Under Early Action Single choice, you are not allowed to have the option of committing in advance to another school.  You can apply to as many other schools Early Action or Regular but not Early Decision.  How is it not the same as Early Decision?  Well, the difference is that it is not binding.  You can be accepted into your Early Action Single Choice school and also be accepted into a couple of other schools.  You have the ability to turn it down, which you cannot do under Early Decision.


4.Early Decision II-Sometimes called ED2.  This choice has typically a later deadline than regular Early Decision or Early Action.  It is also binding commitment.  It exists because sometimes students are denied their first Early Decision option but truly are committed to another very fine school.  By choosing ED2, if it is offered, it sends the message to Admissions, you are committed.  Typically the deadline for ED2 is often the same as Regular Decision but because you are committed, it could help seal the deal!


5.Rolling-Rolling is something that is great for really large schools because they can admit many, many students, and those who accept them back right away will get priority rooming.  It is a way for a college to keep a varied student body and is also a selling point for many.  The college will notify you upon receipt and review of your paperwork.  Many have a time after which you can submit as Admissions has a time period in which it actually does process applications.  Some colleges with Rolling have submission periods, each with a certain percentage accepted. You can typically find out just weeks after all the forms are submitted.


6.Regular Decision-Regular Decision deadline is typically December 1 or 15th, January 1st or 15th or even as late as February 1.  You send all your application forms, tests, and transcripts in, and you find out in end of March, typically.  You can accept or deny the colleges you get into.  You are part of the largest pool of applicants in most schools, typically.



Is there any reason NOT to apply Early Action to every single school that offers it?  This is where some serious research pays off! It is important to ask the right questions when at an Information Session or you can contact Admissions at the schools or search the websites to see if you can locate the statistics and facts, or you can contact us!  What specifically should you consider before deciding?

  1. Look to see if the Early Action pool resubmits your application back into the pool if not accepted in the first round, or if you get denied.  Some colleges either accept or deny; others put your application back into the pool for as many as five go-arounds until all places are full before you get denied.  If you are accepted or denied rather than resubmitted, you might want to choose a more committed option to send the college a message you are serious.
  2. How many people are typically reviewed in the early pool? If only 20% of the applicants accepted are from the early pool, then 80% are accepted from the regular pool, correct?  Aren’t these odds better? Maybe you stand a better chance in the regular pool, especially if you are coming from a small school with recruited athletes taking up the early pool!  You can seek help to understand this.
  3. Are there special considerations accepted and weighted during the early pool that might put you at a disadvantage? Some schools offer a bit more consideration for a legacy candidate in the early process that is not offered in the regular process. There are other special considerations that could be offered only in the early pool, which might put you, without such considerations, at a disadvantage.


So what should you do?  As you start to winnow your college list, start asking serious questions.  You now have some of your standardized test scores and you know your current GPA; think about your options.  Think about your competition.  Yes, there is a strategic way to apply, and we can certainly help you to understand how to do so.  Look forward to helping you!