Early action be regular decision?

Hi, I’m in the process of applying to colleges and I was wondering how much ea (non-binding) vs rd really matters. I plan to apply ea to as many of the schools on my list as I can so I can have higher scholarship chances and to have longer to compare my options. However, after qualifying for National merit semi finalist and deciding to apply to the regeneron scholarship and the Robertson scholarship, I am drowning in essays and writing the supplemental essays for some colleges on time is worrying me. Also, I am in a research program and I will have a paper written in November. So, I will not be able to report that for any colleges I apply to by that November 1st deadline. I need merit scholarships and at a lot of schools the only/best way to get that is to apply ea. I have a 4.0 and already got a 36 on the act so I’m not waiting on test scores or senior grades to strengthen my application. I’m really just trying to see if I can push some things back.

The main one I am worried about is UNC because their ea deadline is 10/15. I still have an essay to write for them, but mainly I really won’t have nearly as much to write about for the research program. However, if it will kill my scholarship chances to apply rd, it’s not worth it. What should I do?


Not only may merit aid be lower in RD compared to EA, the admit rates are also often lower.

The Regeneron and Robertson scholarships are very competitive and time intensive. I would prioritize the supplementals at the schools that offer you the best chance of admission and affordability (is your budget still in the $25K range?) Have you submitted your apps to all the schools that offer large NMF scholarships? If not, prioritize those.

Can you decrease the number of schools you are applying to? Has your list changed since this thread? Do I have a balanced list? [LA resident, 4.0, 36, NMSF, <$25k, biology or physics, pre-med]

Using the list from that earlier thread…I strongly encourage you make EA deadlines at Tulane, Richmond, CWRU, Miami, UMass (although I don’t think UMass will be affordable, so could be a good one to drop).

I thought you didn’t love UNC based on the other thread? If that is still the case, and it wouldn’t be affordable unless you win the Robertson, I would consider dropping it.

Is this thru HS or community college for academic credit? If not, you would put this in your Activities list even though the paper isn’t due until Nov. Can you push back the timeline on this paper? Whether or not the paper is actually submitted is not going to matter for your college apps.


Many schools use their EA deadlines to be considered for merit scholarships. And some schools fill the bulk of their incoming class in EA so for popular majors that can also be an issue.

I get drowning in essays. My D only applied to 8 schools and had 18 unique essays to write. When she thought she was finally done, there were invites to apply to honors and for additional scholarships with more essays.

IMO, I would make sure you have a true safety school application submitted as early as possible (a real safety - both affordable and that you would be happy to attend). Bonus if it’s a rolling admission school so you have an early decision which is great for the psyche.

You could then rank rest of your list - Do the applications for the schools you are most excited about, and most likely to be able to afford, first.

In terms of your research paper, you can always have your guidance counselor send an update to the colleges. I wouldn’t delay applications because of that.


My list is nearly the same. Dropped case western, UMass, and Miami. The Robertson goes for both/either Duke or unc, which is why I’m doing it and still applying to unc. My budget grew a little to around $30k because I started working and am committed to paying at least $5,000/year and my mom can pay a little more than I thought. Big yay. I’m waiting for the alabama National merit fee waiver to apply there.

The research program is through my school partnering with a local university. Good to know that my paper won’t matter for admissions. I need it for regeneron so it’s still due in November.

Thanks! I will probably just apply to them early then.

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Are you applying to any other of the schools with large NMF awards? Like Tulsa, UTD and some others discussed on the previous thread? Applying to some more than just Alabama would give you a choice come May 1, should you not win any of the big scholarships that make the reaches affordable.

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Current list (not changing at this point, just wondering about when to apply):

Duke (rd)
Emory (rd)
Georgia tech (ea)
Lehigh (rd)
NC state (park scholarship) (ea)
Stony brook (ea)
Alabama (financial and admission safety) (rd)
Tulane (ea)
Arkansas (financial safety if I pick it for National merit instead of alabama. Will tour bama this weekend to decide) (ea)
Unc (ea)
Richmond (ea)
Vanderbilt (rd)

Maybe: Washington and Lee (Johnson) (rd)

I chose ea at nearly every school that offers it. Are there any where it doesn’t really matter and I should switch to rd?

Edit: just found out my best friend got our schools nomination for the Jefferson. Super happy for her! Also means there’s no point in my applying to uva.


Provavly Arkansas. Does $10,000 National merit which makes it affordable with the new resident tuition thing. Only problem is both Arkansas and alabama require being the first choice.

EA matters at all of those schools. I know you said you aren’t changing the list but Stony Brook, GTech, Emory, Lehigh, and Vandy are unlikely to be affordable…unless you know something I don’t (based on your last thread you won’t qualify for need based aid, and budget now looks like $30K). At least some of those are RD only, so you have more time to consider.

Would you go to NC State over Alabama and Arkansas? If not, drop it, it has a lot of essays even without the Park app.

Alabama is rolling admission, so submit that as soon as you get the waiver code. Call admissions today and ask for it. Arkansas is also rolling, so submit ASAP there too.

You don’t have to designate your first choice until the spring, check each school’s website for the exact date…many aren’t until May 1.


Going for long shot scholarships. Stony Brook is a super easy app. The others all have big scholarships that I could win. Long shots, but why not.

Yes, unless there is a really good reason not to?

Cool. I didn’t know I could do that

Ok. So I’ll apply to both, see what happens, pick the better one as my first choice.



If I were your HS counselor, I would ask it the other way…what do you like more about NC State than Alabama? Than Arkansas? You don’t have to answer that on this thread, but IMO you should answer that to yourself, and please don’t use rankings as support…look at things like offerings in target major, housing, vibe, etc.

To circle back to your initial question on this thread regarding EA apps, here’s how I might prioritize. Of course it’s up to you:

EA must makes:
Stony Brook (because it’s easy per your response. I’m not sure what large scholarship you are talking about there so see what applying to that entails and the deadlines)

Rolling to do ASAP

Schools you might consider RD instead of EA, but chances of admission and/or merit likely to be decreased (double check that the big $ don’t require an EA app):

NC State

For the remaining RD schools that don’t offer EA, double check when the RD app is due if applying for large scholarships. For example, the Johnson scholarship deadline at Wash and Lee is Dec 1.

Good luck.


Speaking only to this aspect, you can 100% send the published paper in after the deadline. Or at least have the GC do so.

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I didn’t see that this paper would be published? But if it is, I agree, that can be added in the portal later and/or sent to the AO.

Ah, my mistake! I saw research and written and leapt to a conclusion that was not there :slight_smile:

If you’re looking for better odds and a Hail Mary, I’d add SMU. I’d lose all @Mwfan1921 said except Vandy as they offer full ride merit. Maybe add a WUSTL and Miami Florida which also do.

If I recall you don’t have need - but these schools are better suited, in my opinion to give money.

FSU is another with solid NMF - I forget if Florida is in consideration as a state…

U of Arizona would be $23-25k with auto merit if you’d prefer over Arkansas/Alabama.

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I think I’ve got my list at this point. I only live around 3 hours from SMU, and I know enough about it to know I wouldn’t like it as much as even Arkansas. I already have Arkansas as a safety that I like. I am touring Tulsa and alabama this weekend. If I hate them both (unlikely), I’ll worry about finding more affordable options. But if I have a solid safety I like, then I’m not going to worry about having extra backup options. I’m not trying to be rude or dismissing of your help, I’ve just already gotten to a point where I feel comfortable with my approach and my choices.


You can apply RD to Vanderbilt but note their scholarship deadline is before their RD - when my daughter applied it was end of November and it’s another with a ton of extra essays for the big scholarships. Good luck to you - the essays for merit and honors colleges can really be a ton of work!


I wasn’t trying to redirect you but giving feedback to this comment you made to @mwfan - why I mentioned those I did - they’d be easier than those you mentioned. I did not know who you have or haven’t previously checked out.

Going for long shot scholarships. Stony Brook is a super easy app. The others all have big scholarships that I could win. Long shots, but why not.

If you like Arkansas, you’ll like Bama except if part of the appeal of Arkansas is Fayetteville - which is really nice and adjacent. Tuscaloosa - not so really nice :slight_smile: . Good to know about SMU -

Hope you like Tulsa - it will come down to big school/smaller school. It’s less than two hours to Fayetteville. How are you going Tulsa to Bama? - that’s a haul transport wise in one weekend!!

Good for you for getting it done and out to visit…

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Going to Tulsa tonight with my dad and touring tomorrow. Coming home. Sunday going to Tuscaloosa with my mom. Quite a lot of driving! They are both about the same distance from me time-wise.


Lehigh doesn’t have EA.

I didn’t say it did, but do understand how my response could have been confusing. The important thing is that OP seems to have understood the post.

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