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Is applying early action better than applying regular decision?

ryouseriousryouserious Posts: 27Registered User New Member
edited November 2012 in College Admissions
like the title says. many of my friends who are in college told me i should apply early action if a school accepts it. how better are my chances of getting in a school if i do EA rather than regular? and can you guys explain the whole EA process? what's so different about that than regular decision?
Post edited by ryouserious on

Replies to: Is applying early action better than applying regular decision?

  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone Posts: 2,474CC Admissions Expert Senior Member
    Applying Early Action can show interest in a college, and it will also be a huge relief to get good news in December. Yet, even so, it's not the right bet for everyone. If your second-semester junior grades weren't as good as you'd hoped, you might be wise to wait until you have some better senior grades under your belt before you apply. Also keep in mind that Early Decision can boost admission odds because you're willing to make a binding commitment to the college. However, with Early Action, colleges must save a spot for an admitted student who might not necessarily enroll (and who will have until May 1 to decide). Thus, they do not want to squander admission offers on borderline applicants. So, if you don't think you're an especially strong applicant, you may be better off waiting until Regular Decision and trying to make your first senior semester your best one ever, rather than applying EA. (As I said before, Early Decision is a different story.)
  • rbartholdrbarthold Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    what if a school's regular decision deadline is before your high school's semester ends? What is the better bet?
  • naomiiiinaomiiii Posts: 95Registered User Junior Member
    you still will need to send midyear reports. those are taken into consideration when you apply RD. (Not the case with EA or ED, because they admit you before your semester ends). But either way, you will need to submit your end of year transcript.

    I applied ED because I knew where I wanted to go absolutely, without question.

    But I know that if financial aid is a major concern, your best bet is applying RD, because then you can play schools against one another financially (according to an NPR report a few weeks ago).
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone Posts: 2,474CC Admissions Expert Senior Member
    Yes, if the RD deadline falls before your first-semester grades are available (which, in fact, it often does), the colleges will wait for midyear reports before finalizing your admission verdict. Sometimes they will make a preliminary decision based on first-quarter senior grades (along with all past grades, of course). But, in those cases, the decision can definitely be amended if there is a change--either up or down--when the midyear grades arrive.

    Re financial aid: You can still "play schools against each other financially" if admitted via Early Action since you need not commit until May 1. With Early Decision, however, you won't have that opportunity since you have made a binding commitment. But if a favorable ED verdict comes with a truly unacceptable aid award, you can first appeal the award and--if unsuccessful--decline the admission offer without penalty. But you cannot simply put that decision on hold until you have a chance to compare all aid offers in the spring. That's the "price" one must pay for getting the ED admissions-odds boost.
  • standrewsstandrews Posts: 1,364Registered User Senior Member
    There is one circumstance where I think applying ED can improve your chances of admission, and that is when the number of RD applicants jumps dramatically. The problem is you can never be sure if RD applications will show a large increase. Dartmouth saw a 15.7% increase in applications this year and the director of admission indicated this will change how they look at many applications. If they had known how many would be applying and the quality of the applicants, would they have changed how they viewed candidates in the ED pool?
    “We are a couple weeks into the regular decision applicants and, as a staff, we are grappling with what it means to only be admitting one in 10, especially looking at the strength we are seeing,” Laskaris said. “That means for us we are much more nuanced in terms of some of the distinctions we must make.”
    This appears to indicate that there is now a slightly different standard for the RD applicants than there was in the past, including this year's ED applicants.
  • SLUMOMSLUMOM Posts: 3,610Registered User Senior Member
    If you decide to apply Early Action, also accept the fact that you may be "deferred" to Regular Decision pool. Some applicants and their parents find that very stressful!
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Posts: 5,878Registered User Senior Member
    Early Action can be a useful gut check. If you get accepted to one (or more) of your Early Action schools, then these schools can be used as your safeties. You'd still need to find out about the finances, but it is very comforting to know early on that you've gotten in somewhere. Some students trim some schools from their list after getting an EA acceptance or two. If you're rejected EA, that can be an early wakeup call to take another look at your list of colleges and add some less selective schools, just in case.

    You can also look at rolling decision schools. These are schools which make an admit/reject decision right after your application arrives. You can have an acceptance in hand as early as September in some cases, which really takes the worry off. Your odds of getting in, and getting merit aid, are better if you apply earlier.

    Of course, if you don't like any EA or rolling decision schools, it would be silly to apply to them just because they are EA or rolling.
  • pats1234pats1234 Posts: 133Registered User Junior Member
    It all depends on the school. On the U.S. News Education site, it demonstrates which colleges yu would be better off applying EA/ED for.
    Colleges Where Applying Early Action Helps - US News and World Report
  • T26E4T26E4 Posts: 16,081Registered User Senior Member
    pants: look at the dates of the posts. The OP started the thread in Aug 2010 and is likely already in college.

    The last action on this thread was 22 months ago.
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