What is downside of applying for too many schools in Early Action?

Will it hurt your chance in regular decision?


Besides cost?

I guess it also depends on a lot of things: major, how selective the schools are that you’re applying to, how competitive you are. I am the type of person who always like to get things completed early. If you get those applications in, you can enjoy your senior year, or start to work on other things like applications to honors or scholarships. The only drawback I can think of is a waste of money/time if you do too many.

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When you applied for 2 schools or more under the Restrictive Early Action, you already violated the terms & conditions of the early action at the universities. This is very unethical and kinda waste of time, money, and most important, it will definitely hurt your chances for admission if they find out you had applied for so many schools under REA or EA ( Binding Admission ).

While true, the OP did not ask about REA. Assume they are asking about normal EA.


The issue is preparation. If you have great grades, have test scores you are happy with ( or are going TO) written great essays and a compelling EC list and have people writing your LORs I see no issue with lots of EAs.


Thank you Skieurope for the clarification. Yes, I am asking about normal EA.

I am trying to get my son to get his applications out as soon as possible. It helps with the schools he is applying to, and it gets this process over with so he can enjoy his senior year.

I am a big fan of applying EA (or rolling). IMO the only reasons NOT to apply to a college EA would be:

  1. If you don’t feel you have the time to write thoughtful essays for each school;
  2. If you feel it would strengthen your applicant to show the results of your first semester senior year;
  3. If you expect some major accomplishment will come after EA decisions (ex. an big award, publication etc.) that you might want to highlight on your application.

Other than that there is really no downside.

One unsolicited comment I’d add based on my son’s results is you should not be shocked to be deferred from EA schools where you are a borderline (not a slam dunk) applicant. An EA deferral can turn to an acceptance or denial down the road.

That said, if you get one or two early acceptances from safety/match schools by December it will take a lot of stress of the rest of the process.


Thank you. For Common App, do they need to write an essay for each university or one assay for all the universities on the Common App?

It depends on the college. Some schools only ask for the common app essay. Other colleges have supplements which may or may not ask for additional essays.

Another unsolicited piece of advice is that if a college has an optional essay you really should write it or it may be construed as a lack of interest in the college.


One should assume that the optional essay is required. The only exception that I can think of would be Duke’s essay on gender identity; that is truly optional


My S21 applied to 23 schools (he’s attending the 23rd), including 9-10 EA. This high number mainly because we couldn’t travel last fall and he didn’t get to take his ACT until October unfortunately. He was accepted into every EA he applied to with merit. Regular round with his great test score was a bloodbath, many more internationals and people in general coming on board and starting to apply RD. He got a lot of waitlists RD. So, I highly encourage applying early. He started in summer and did get some supplemental essay burnout and there were quite a number of prompts that couldn’t be easily recycled. Also he probably didn’t get a ton of points for demonstrated interest at some of his RD schools. Had no energy left for scholarship essays. This was the shotgun '21 approach and hopefully it’s not necessary in '22 but schools still love early applicants.


As mentioned, nothing was said by OP about REA. I also think you are confusing ED (binding) and EA (non-binding).

It is always a good idea to apply early to any school that allows it, because you’re more likely to be accepted, and more likely to be awarded merit money. In fact, many schools have an early deadline for merit money. So if interested, choose one restrictive early action or early decision, and for every allowed early action (some privates will allow only one private early action, but all the public early action you want), apply early action. Also, don’t forget to look for early deadlines for merit money, and get those in early, too.

Highly selective private colleges wind up deferring a lot of those early action applicants. Essentially, if you are qualified, but not so spectacular that they’re going to take you in the ED/EA round, they defer you to the regular round, which, as N&A’a mom said, is a bloodbath.

One more thing: think carefully about how many schools you really do need to apply to, if you don’t qualify for an app fee waiver. Between app fees, and the cost of sending scores and even transcripts, you can easily wind up spending more than 2K on applications. If it’s warranted, sure. But usually people can whittle it down to a more reasonable number, if they consider carefully what they’re looking for.


Both of my kids applied to all schools their EA. It was more work in the early fall, but by November they were done and could just relax, concentrate on senior year, and wait for results.


No, I don’t think it would hurt your RD chances.

If you were going to apply RD anyway, as the alternative. then there is no cost issue (unless I’m unaware of a school that charges more for EA, or you’re worried about a few cents of opportunity cost).

Time would be a constraint - can you effectively complete all essays, questions, etc., in time.

I suppose that if you had a rough Fr/So year and are counting on an upward trend, waiting for 1st semester grades might help. But those will be available if deferred to RD, and if you are rejected EA, one more semester probably wouldn’t have helped.

My D is applying EA everywhere it’s available. Many schools require it for scholarships and at least “strongly recommend” it for high demand programs.

Did OP delete something that said this?

I’m also a big proponent of doing as many applications EA as you can. My S21 applied to 10 schools in November last year and was accepted to 9 of them with merit. He applied to one school RD in Jan because they only had RD and ED and he was waitlisted to that one. Like someone else here pointed out, the only reason you might want to wait for RD is if your first semester senior year grades will make a difference in your GPA but usually that is not the case. Good luck. It feels great to have decisions in your hands before the holidays.


No. User assumed facts not in evidence. See my earlier post.