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Early Decision Vs Early Action: Which is the Right Choice for You?

In the heat of the application season, we bring you the pros and cons of Early Decision and Early Action application, so you can choose wisely. Remember, the early bird gets the worm!
BY Tina Varghese |   23-11-2015


If you’re already flaunting an orange and black jersey, have pennants fluttering all around your room, and your mom drives with a ‘Princeton Mom’ bumper sticker; then these are signs that you need to seriously consider making an Early Decision or Early Action Application next year.

Early Decision is a type of application in the United States where students apply to their desired universities by 1st of November, rather than January, which is the regular application time. More than 400 hundred schools across US offer an early application plans, including IVY leagues like MIT, Harvard and Yale.

Early Decision

Early Decisions are usually binding. A ‘binding’ application is one where a student who has applied to and promised to attend a school they have applied to; would be obliged to attend that school if they are officially accepted. Binding agreements are serious commitments and students can only apply to one early decision at one school.


ED Pros:
  • Once you’re done with the application and admission hassle, you can easily focus the rest of your time on figuring out housing, making a budget, looking into potential classes and explore part time jobs in the area.
  • According to surveys, there is a better rate of acceptance if you are in the early application pool.
 
ED Cons:
  • Once you have been accepted, it is mandatory that you attend this school. So this option basically rules out any chance of a change of heart, or comparing financial aids and tuition fees of various programs.
  • There is no guarantee that you will be accepted, so this puts you under the cloud of early rejection as well. An early rejection especially during the holidays; can be demotivating and unnerving especially if you have no backups.


Versus

Early Action

Early Action, on the other hand, usually doesn’t require the student to commit to the university beforehand.

Although they receive an admission decision early, they can consider acceptance and give the respective college a decision by end of April - first week of May. Some schools follow a ‘Single Choice’ early action. These allow students to only apply to one school’s Single Choice.  It also generally restricts applicants from applying to private universities, or making any other binding applications.

EA Pros

  • Unlike ED, you are under no obligation to accept the decision immediately, which gives you plenty of float time to evaluate other options.
  • Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to withdraw other applications - which is good in case you have a change of heart or financial situation.
  • An early decision letter from the university can ensure you have a stress-free senior year (and a delightful prom.)
     

EA Cons

  • A single choice early application plan can kill your chances of applying for any other early action school.
  • If you are counting on your senior year grades to get you that acceptance letter, then you can kiss your hopes goodbye.
 
You are an ideal ED or EA candidate if:
  • ü  You are quite certain about the school you want to attend.
     
  • ü  You application is strong and you have consistent grades (good ones, that is). If you are doubtful about keeping your academic records consistent throughout your remaining semesters, then it is better not to opt for early application.
     
  • ü  You have researched the school, the course, and your subjects well enough.
     
  • ü  You have already planned what subjects you opt for in senior year as per the requirements of your college course.
     
  • ü  Have the necessary financial aid.
  •  

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