Early Action vs. Early Decision: Which to Choose?

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The college admissions process is a confusing and stressful time for most students. They put hours upon hours of work and preparation into ensuring that their application is strong enough and then have to wait for the school’s decision. If you, like many, prefer to know earlier rather than later if you are suitable for the college of your choice, then let us remind you of two popular submission options. You probably have already heard the terms early action and decision. Both of them can be beneficial for you, depending on what you are looking for. But, first, you should understand what they are and which one is best for you. So, what is early action? What is early decision? Should you utilize them? Read on, and find out!

What Is Early Action?

Through the early action option, you have the opportunity to apply to college earlier than the regular application deadlines. The regular deadlines are usually around the beginning of January, whereas common deadlines for early action are sometime between November 1 and November 15. As a result of the earlier application due date, the college also responds to applicants earlier in the admissions decision cycle. One thing

Who should apply early?

who-should-apply-early

If you are well-prepared, have done your research, and would like to know in advance whether you have secured your place in your dream school or any other school you like, then this is a great submission option for you. If you are successful with your applications, you can sit back and enjoy the rest of your high school years. However, if you are not accepted, you will still have more time to look for other schools and apply again during the regular deadlines.

What Is Early Decision?

The early decision offers students the chance to apply earlier to one school of their choice. The catch is that this decision is binding. So, if the school you apply to accepts your application, then you are committed to your choice and have to attend that school. For such a submission, on top of the regular documents, the school also requires a signature from you, your family, and a school counselor as a way to finalize the contract between you and the school. If you are set on one school and are 100% sure you would rather attend it than any other, then early decision might be the right choice for you.

The Benefits of Early Action and Decision

If you have picked your first-choice college or finalized the list of schools you want to apply to, early action or decision could be right for you. Rest assured that many benefits will come from applying early.

Stress-free senior year

If you get accepted through early action or decision, then you can spend the rest of your senior year focusing on things other than college. Many students dread this final year of high school because of what comes after it. However, if you apply and get accepted early, then you can enjoy this time, stress-free, having made the necessary steps to ensure your educational future. Plus, cutting down the time you have to spend waiting to hear back from the colleges you applied to will surely contribute to this reduced stress.

More prep time

more-prep-time

Early application will give you more time to make arrangements for what comes after the college’s response. If you are accepted, then you will have plenty of time to consider housing options, negotiate financial aid offers from different schools, and start preparing for college and its courses.

Opportunity to explore other options

In case you are not accepted into the college you apply to for early action or decision, then once again, you have time to reassess your options and proceed to try again with the regular application dates.

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Early Action vs. Early Decision

When comparing early action vs. early decision, we notice that there are two great submission options that have similarities as well as differences with one another. The most significant difference between early action and early decision is the commitment implied with each one. For early action, you can apply to as many schools as you want and then choose between them, rejecting certain offers without any repercussions. On the other hand, once you pick a school and apply with an early decision, then their answer determines whether you will attend their school or not. With the early decision, you imply you have chosen this school and will 100% be a part of it if they allow you.

 

Seeing as how there is a good chance you’re going to benefit from these early applications, they are options worth considering. However, as tempting as it may be to participate in this early round of applications, make sure you are well prepared and have done extensive research. Otherwise, you might ruin your chances of attending your dream school. Remember, it is never too early to start chasing and working for your dreams.

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