Early Action or EA allows you to apply early for colleges without a binding contract.
- Early Action = Early admission decision.
Well, it’s not as fast as Early Decision (ED), but you will hear the results before the Regular admission deadlines.
- Early Action = Results December to January
Also, with Early Action, you can apply to any number of colleges, whereas ED restricts students to apply to just one college.
Note: Restrictive Early Action is a bit complicated (more on that later).
Typical College Application Deadlines:
- Early Decision – Nov 1 (typical)
- Early Action – Oct 15 to Mid-December
- Regular – Jan to March
- Rolling – No set deadline
As a Parent: How should you advise your children about college choices?
As a student: How do you pick colleges for Early Action and Early Decision, and how many colleges to apply for Early Action?
Here’s what we recommend for our clients.
- Pick a highly selective college for Early Decision – Reach (or Far Reach) School
- Pick several colleges for Early Action – Target School
- Pick safety net schools for EA or Regular and Rolling Admissions
As part of the college selection process, plan for uncertainty.
Here’s a situation for you to think about.
A student applied to two public colleges by Early Action.
There are only three universities in the State that offers that specific major.
Two Public University and One Private University.
Deferral from one school. Waiting for the decision from the second college.
The private university will cost about $180,000 for 4 years & parents can’t afford that.
Students applying for unique majors tend to run into a situation like this.
What would you do as a parent or student in this instance?
Here are the questions I would ask:
- Is the family willing to apply for Out of State School?
- Can the family afford out-of-state tuition fees?
- Are there alternative majors the student can apply for?
- What about applying as a transfer student?
The college planning process has to take such scenarios into account.
When you are planning to apply for a unique college major, careful consideration is required about EA, ED, out of state schools, ability to pay, and fall back options.
Early Action vs. Regular Admission
It will be reasonably easy to pick between Early Action and Regular admission deadlines.
- Apply to your Target or Dream schools under Early Action.
- Keep Track of Regular admission deadlines for Safe colleges.
- Apply to safety colleges in Jan – Feb.
Here’s how the numbers look for Yale – Class of 2023 by the Numbers
Single Choice Early Action
- Applied: 6069
- Admitted: 794 (13.13%)
- Applied: 30,775
- Admitted: 1384 (4.4%)
Early Action vs. Early Decision
Check out the list of schools for Early Decision to understand when to pick ED and how to fit ED into your college application strategy strategically.
In a nutshell, ED provides a golden opportunity to get into a highly selective college of your choice.
And there’s Restrictive Early action (or Single-Choice Early Action) that prevents students from applying to other Early Action schools, but the admission is not binding. Here’s an argument for and against Single Choice Early Action.
Timeline and Plan – Early Action Admission
Applying for Early Action and ED requires careful planning. (Do I even have to stress that?)
Students and parents should know the effort and the time needed to complete the necessary tasks (primarily the supplemental essays).
Not to mention the stress factor.
High schooler’s family will go through a stressful period from September, October, and November of the senior year.
It’s tough to get a teenager to do something! They all tend to put off things until the last minute.
And, this college application journey will require a structured plan and execution.
If not, I have often noticed the spillover effects on the quality of essays and tasks.
Amount of Effort:
Each school would require 2 to 4 supplemental essays (200 words to 650 words in length).
For 1 ED + 8 EA applications, you are looking at least 18 supplemental essays.
You could reuse parts of the essay, but each essay has to be customized depending on the core values of the school and program you are applying to.
Remember – Essays are written at the last minute seldom turn out to be an effective essay.
What’s Required to Apply for October 15th?
- SAT or ACT score report
- Recommendation Letters
- College Essay (long)
- Supplemental Essay (long and short)
- Common App or Coalition App
- Campus visits
The student should take in August. October SAT score report will not be ready by Oct 15 deadline.
Early Action Colleges with Deadlines
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- LaSalle University
- University of Georgia
- University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
- Baylor University
- Binghampton University
- Boston College
- Butler University
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- Case Western Reserve University
- Chapman University
- Clark University
- College of Charleston
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Massachusetts Maritime Academy
- New York Institute of Technology
- Northeastern University
- Ohio State University
- Oregon State University
- Pace University
- University of Virginia
- Villanova University
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Evansville
- University of Kentucky
- University of Maine
- University of Rhode Island
- The University of St. Thomas
- University of Utah
Summary: Early Action
- Choice of Colleges for Early Action and Early Decision requires planning
- Apply for multiple “target” schools via Early Action
- Also, plan for Regular Admission for Safety net schools
- Key – Start the process as early as January of the Junior Year