Seniors: Get a head start on your college apps this summer!

Understanding EA vs. ED vs. EDII and More

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

reschedule sat or act.jpgDid 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 additional materials 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 and prepared to apply early.

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. Deadlines are usually between Nov. 1 and 15 of senior year.
  3. Students usually receive decisions in 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. This decision is non-binding.
  2. Deadlines are usually between Nov. 1 and 15 of senior year.
  3. Students usually receive decisions in 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. Deadlines are usually between Nov. 1 and 15 of senior year.
  3. Students usually receive decisions in 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. Deadlines are usually between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 of senior year.
  3. Students usually receive decisions in 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.

“Secret” or “Hidden” 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 2 application as long as they submit the proper paperwork by a certain date. Some call this ED 3, as students end up applying later than the normal ED 2 date.
  2. The same rules apply — the decision is binding, so if you are accepted you must withdraw all other applications and attend.

 

Here are some schools that offer the option to switch Regular Decision applications to ED 2 after the initial application deadline:

School Typical ED II Deadline Switching to ED II Policy
Bates College January 10, 2024 Due by 2/01/24
Case Western Reserve January 15, 2024 Due by 1/15/2024 (Source: Email)
Catholic University of America February 1, 2024 Due by 2/01/24 (Source: Email)
Colby College January 2, 2024 Due by 2/01/24
Colgate University January 15, 2024 Due by 2/01/24
College of the Holy Cross January 15, 2024 Due by 2/9/2024 (Source: Email)
Connecticut College January 15, 2024 Due by 2/01/24 (Source: Email)
Denison University January 15, 2024 Due by 2/20/24
Dickinson College January 17, 2024 Due by 2/28/24
Hamilton College January 3, 2024 Due by 1/29/24
Harvey Mudd College January 5, 2024 Due by 1/5/24 (Source: Email)
High Point University February 1, 2024 Due by 2/01/24 (Source: Email)
Kenyon College January 15, 2024 Due by 1/15/24 (Source: Email)
Lafayette College January 15, 2024 Due by 2/01/24
Marist College February 15, 2024 Due by 2/15/24 (Source: Email)
Middlebury College January 3, 2024 Due by 2/1/2024 (Source: Email)
Muhlenberg College February 1, 2024 Due by 2/01/24 (Source: Email)
Rhodes College January 15, 2024 Due in late February (Source: Email)
Skidmore College January 15, 2024 Due by 2/01/24
Southern Methodist University January 15, 2024 Due by 1/15/2024 (Source: Email)
Stonehill College February 1, 2024 Due by 2/01/24 (Source: Email)
Texas Christian University February 1, 2024 Due by 2/01/24
Trinity College January 17, 2024 Due by 2/01/24
Trinity University February 1, 2024 Due by 2/01/24 (Source: Email)
Union College January 15, 2024 Due by 2/07/24
Villanova University January 15, 2024 Due by 1/31/24
Wellesley College January 1, 2024 Due by 1/1/24 (Source: Email)
Wesleyan University January 1, 2024 Due by 2/01/24 (Source: Email)

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? Contact us today for expert guidance on how to develop your application strategy utilizing the different admissions rounds options.

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