What’s the Deal with Early Action?

Early Action, like Early Decision, is an accelerated college application process in which students typically must complete their applications in November. In most cases, students will then receive a decision from the college before the New Year. Some schools even have a second Early Action deadline that comes after the first but before the regular decision deadline.

If Early Decision is a 10 on the stress-o-meter, Early Action, which doesn’t have the added pressure of the required commitment, is around an 8. With Early Action, you won’t need to withdraw other applications if you get accepted. Also, if accepted, you can wait until May 1st to respond.8-professor-graphics-worm

On the downside of Early Action, you better make sure to familiarize yourself with the term “contingency plan.” Plan A is always nice, but sometimes life hands you a few lemons, and you get stuck with Plan B. Unless you don’t have a Plan B, in which case, you’re probably going to get stuck with Plan Live in Your Parents’ Basement. That should be like Plan W… minimum. You will find out if you got in to your dreamy dream school two weeks before the deadline for most Regular Applications, so we recommend you work on your other applications just in case you don’t get in. What we are saying here is make sure you are still applying to 6-10 schools. And don’t be like Jonny Slackoff (it’s Slavic). Jonny had everything going for him. 3.7 GPA, half-ride to Purdue… but he came down with a bad, bad case of senioritis. Stopped showing up for class, homework was turned in with nothing more than doodles and his girlfriend’s name written in various fonts. Those guys from Purdue caught wind of his declining performance and turned that half-ride into a… no-ride. Oops.

Let’s talk money, shall we? Some colleges are giving preliminary scholarships for Early Action applicants – you may have received emails from colleges telling you to apply now and they’ll waive the fee and you’ll get first dibs on scholarship money. It’s true and we’ve seen clients get anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per year in scholarships – so pay attention!

In general, early action is a much more attractive option than early decision. Some reasons to consider early action include:

  • At many colleges, the acceptance rates are higher for early action than for regular admission
  • Students who are not accepted early are still considered for admission with the regular admission pool
  • Early action is not binding — students are free to apply to other colleges
  • Students can apply early to other colleges
  • Although students receive early notification of an acceptance, they do not need to make a decision until the usual May 1 deadline. This allows time to figure out financial aid
  • If accepted early at a college, the spring of a student’s senior year will be far less stressful
  • More money!

Content derived from the following articles:

Grove, Allen: What is Early Action? Learn the Benefits of Applying to College Early, About.com, College Admissions 2013 ©

Article: Early Decision vs. Early Action vs. Regular Decsion vs. Rolling Admission, http://www.shmoop.com/college/early-decision-early-action-regular-decision-rolling-admission.html

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