Early Decision and Early Action Deadlines: What Are They?

Article by Kody Tinga

November 1 represents a nerve-wracking day for most seniors. Why is it so scary? Well, that’s because for Seniors, it’s the Early Decision/Early Action application deadline. For those who feel like they already have their dream college in mind, and feel they have the grades to back it up, deciding to go the route of Early Decision/Early Action applications may be a pretty good idea. Or not. Let’s go into what Early Decision/Early Application actually is.

Despite the similar names, the ‘Early Action’ and ‘Early Decision’ options are actually quite different. Early Action applications simply mean that you submit your application early and receive your results earlier, as well. Early Action applications are non-binding, meaning that if you decide that this college isn’t just going to be the right fit for you, you’re not held to any agreement.

Early Decision applications, however, are a more serious commitment. As with Early Action admissions, you apply and find out the status of your application earlier than usual. It is at this point that Early Decision differs from Early Action. If you are accepted Early Decision into a university, you are fully committed and expected to attend that school.

So, what are the benefits of applying early? Well, the first reason has to do with something that can be quite common for Seniors: the late-year condition of “Senioritis”. It is hard keeping up with IB, SATs, ACTs, and your college applications, so maybe applying early can help you get over that hump, and turn in something of your best quality. However, it is important to note that just because you get accepted through EA or ED, you still have to keep your grades up. Universities have rescinded acceptances in the past for drastic grade-drops. Secondly, early applications can be a great boon if you already know in your heart and mind where you wanna go to college. There can also be a slightly greater chance of acceptance through EA or ED simply because the school knows that you are prepared to commit to them, or really want to go there.

However, early applications are not without their flaws. If you’re still deciding where you want to go or where you want to go, then perhaps doing EA/ED isn’t the best choice for you. An acceptance through Early Decision means that you are bound to the school despite any second thoughts you may have. You’ll also have to deal with a much closer deadline, and if this stresses you out too much, it may not be the smartest thing to do.