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Should You Apply to College in the Early Round? EA vs. ED vs. EDII and More

Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 12:32 PM

ED_vs._EA.jpgIn Order to Manage Yield Colleges Offer Early Decision Programs

 

Did you know that you can apply to a college early and get a decision way before most other students? Many colleges offer “early” application options, with students usually submitting their applications in October or November and receiving a decision by December. With the rise in the number of students applying to multiple colleges, and the difficulty of predicting yield, many colleges are offering a number of early application options. So how do you know if applying early is right for you?

Applying early decision isn’t as easy as just hitting “submit” well before the regular decision deadline. Students applying in the early round must be prepared, with all essays, recommendations, test scores, and more ready for submission by November. Students applying early must also go into senior year with strong grades, as colleges won’t get to see mid-year grade reports before making a decision.

Early application pools are typically very competitive, as the strongest applicants are usually the most motivated to apply early and prepared for the earlier deadlines.

Students must also be ready for the responsibility that comes with applying early. If you’re applying to a program with a binding agreement, you must be prepared to enroll if admitted. Only in cases where financial needs are not met can students break the early decision agreement.

Here are the differences between early decision, early action, and other early application options.

Early Action

  1. The decision is non-binding, meaning you have no obligation to attend a college if you apply in the early action round and are admitted.
  2. Usually apply between Nov. 1 and 15 of senior year
  3. Usually receive decisions mid-December
  4. In most cases you can apply to more than one early action school, as well as submit regular decision applications.

Single Choice Early Action (Restrictive Early Action)

  1. Non-binding
  2. Usually apply between Nov. 1 and 15 of senior year
  3. Usually receive decisions mid-December
  4. Students cannot apply to other colleges early action or early decision until they hear back from the SCEA school

Early Decision

  1. The decision is binding, meaning if you apply early decision to a college and are admitted you must attend.
  2. Usually apply between Nov. 1 and 15 of senior year
  3. Usually receive decisions mid-December
  4. Students cannot apply to other colleges early decision, but in some cases can apply to other colleges early action and regular decision. If accepted to the early decision college, students must withdraw all other applications.

Early Decision 2

  1. The decision is binding, meaning if you apply early decision II to a college and are admitted you must attend.
  2. Usually apply between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 of senior year
  3. Usually receive decisions mid-Feb to March
  4. Students cannot apply to other colleges early decision, but in some cases can apply to other colleges early action and regular decision. If accepted to the early decision college, students must withdraw all other applications.

Early Decision 3?

  1. In some cases, students can apply to a college through a lesser-known option, wherein students can change their regular decision application to an ED II application as long as they submit the proper paperwork by a certain date. Some call this ED III, as students end up applying later than the normal ED II date. Colgate is one college that offers this option.
  2. The same rules apply – the decision is binding so if you are accepted you must withdraw all other applications and attend.

Benefits of Applying Early

Not only do students who apply early get their decisions sooner – alleviating some of the pressure during senior year – admission rates tend to be higher in the early rounds.

While early admission rates are typically higher than the regular admission rate at many colleges, it’s important to keep in mind that the applicant pool is going to be more competitive. The stats may be more favorable, but it’s still a very competitive process. Students need to be 100% prepared before applying early to their top-choice college. If there’s any doubt, hold off and wait until the regular decision round.

Have more questions about your application options? Join IvyWise for our next Twitter chat Sept. 26. Follow along using the #ChatIvyWise hashtag!

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Remember, applying to college should be a fun experience. Don't let stress take away from learning more about yourself!

 

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