Should I apply Early Decision/Early Action?
This is a question that plagues many seniors as they navigate the college admissions process.
To make the most informed decision, there are a few important facts to understand.
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1. Early Decision and Early Action do not have the same meaning.
In most cases, there is a key difference between these two terms. Early Decision is usually binding, meaning that if a student is accepted, he or she is legally required to attend that school as long as they can afford to pay for it.
Students should apply Early Decision only to one school that is their top choice.
On the other hand, Early Action is not usually binding, meaning that the decision is in the hands of the student whether or not to accept or decline admission.
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2. Early Action is always a good idea.
Colleges that offer Early Action programs offer students a chance to get ahead of the college admissions process while also allowing them to maintain their freedom in choosing the college that’s best for them.
In addition to this, applying Early Action is a way to show a college that you’re interested and to have your application reviewed while the pool of applicants is significantly smaller. What do you have to lose?
3. Neither Early Decision nor Early Action increases your chances of admission.
While many people believe this, it is not true. Although applying by an earlier deadline doesn’t increase your admission chances, it can make the college process a lot less stressful by releasing your admission decision sooner than it regularly would have been released.
Also, at certain colleges, applying by the Early Action deadline is necessary to qualify for merit scholarships and/or certain programs (ie: engineering).
4. In the end, neither is necessary to get into your dream school.
Although applying Early Action or Early Decision can be helpful for certain students, it isn’t for everyone. While applying to college, keep in mind what is most important. Focusing on your actual application rather than focusing on submitting it before the majority of other applicants is extremely important.
By focusing on your application, you will inevitably increase your admissions chances. While it’s a good idea to be aware of the Early Decision and Early Action programs at the schools that you are applying to, it’s also a good idea not to get too caught up in them.
In the end, applying Early Action or Early Decision will not make or break you in the college admissions process.