Early Action- You apply early, usually around Nov. 1- Nov. 15. You get your decision (admitted, rejected, or deferred) from the college early, usually around December 15. This is not binding, so you do not have to attend if admitted. If you are deferred, you will find out in the regular application pool, around April 1. You can apply EA to as many schools as you want. Rice calls their EA "interim decision." Colleges that offer EA
Early Decision- The same time schedule as EA. Apply early, receive an answer early. However, if you are admitted, you must attend. If you need financial aid, this is probably not a good choice. If you are deferred but later admitted, you are released from the agreement and can go wherever you want. You may only apply ED to one school. Some schools have an ED II where you can apply ED to that school after being rejected or deferred at your first choice. Colleges that offer ED
Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA)- You apply early and receive a decision early, just like EA and ED. However, you can only apply early to that one school. If admitted, you do not have to attend, and you can apply to as many regular decision colleges as you want. You are allowed to apply to rolling colleges. Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are the only colleges that have SCEA.
Rolling- You send in your application any time during your senior year. The sooner you send in your application, the sooner you'll get a response. It's first come first served, so send it in early. State schools like Michigan have this policy.
Some colleges will allow you to apply both ED and EA. For example, you can apply to Columbia ED and U Chicago EA. If admitted to Columbia, you must attend. However, each school has different policies. Princeton ED will not allow you to apply EA elsewhere, and Georgetown EA will not allow you to apply ED elsewhere.