University Admissions Blog
ANNOUNCEMENTS & ADVICE
With application season officially starting today, it’s time to consider whether you should apply early action, early decision, or regular decision.
Let’s first quickly discuss the differences between regular decision, early action, and early decision…
Regular decision (RD) - Applications are submitted by the final due date, which is university-specific but typically falls in December. Acceptance decisions are then released on or around May 1.
Early Action (EA) - Applications are submitted before the final deadline so that students can learn earlier (typically January or February) whether or not they have been accepted.
Early Decision (ED) - Applications are submitted before the final deadline, just like EA; however, applying ED is binding. In other words, if you are accepted by the university you apply to ED, you MUST enroll, and you are expected to withdraw all other applications.
The 2017 EA/ED/RD acceptance rates were recently released. It is a long document, so I will only attach the first page. You can see, however, that applying early is advantageous. If you want information on a specific school or would like me to email you the entire document, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to share.
Most schools have higher EA/ED acceptance rates, but selective schools accept TRIPLE their EA/ED applicants than their RD applicants.
Partially, it’s because those who apply early tend to be the more motivated and organized students (the students universities are most interested in).
But applying early also demonstrates interest. I talk about demonstrating interest on my blog, which you can find here: How to Demonstrate Interest Without Leaving Your Home Country.
Ultimately, universities are interested in accepting students they believe are likely to attend their institution. This guarantees tuition and increases their yield rate (again, please refer to my blog on demonstrated interest if you are interested in learning more about this). Universities consider EA/ED applicants to be serious about attending their institution and are thus more likely to admit them.
Should you apply EA/ED?
It certainly is worth it to apply EA. The only downside is that you have less time to prepare your application materials.
ED, however, is another situation. Remember, you MUST enroll if you are accepted ED. You have to be absolutely POSITIVE that this is the university you want to attend before submission. There are plenty of horror stories of students changing their minds about which university they want to attend, but they are stuck with their ED school. There are also plenty of horror stories of students being accepted ED to more than one institution - when obviously they can only attend one - which has resulted in having ALL of their acceptances rescinded. So, my advice is to think carefully before applying ED.