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REA: What's the difference between REA and other early applications?

Hey everyone! I've seen a lot of people talking about REA (Restrictive Early Action) on the subreddit. I understand that it's an early application option for colleges, but how exactly does it differ from other early application methods like EA or ED? Is it better to consider REA for certain situations? Thanks in advance!

6 months ago

Hello! Great question. Restrictive Early Action (REA) is a type of early application method that lies somewhere between Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED). I'll briefly explain the three options and highlight the differences:

1. Early Action (EA): With EA, you can apply to multiple colleges early, and you'll receive the decision by a specific date, usually by mid-December or early January. If accepted, it's non-binding, meaning you're free to consider other college options and have until the regular decision deadline (usually May 1) to decide which school to attend.

2. Early Decision (ED): You can only apply to one college ED, as you agree to attend that college if accepted (it's a binding decision). You are allowed to apply to other institutions EA, since that agreement is non-binding, but with the understanding that if you are accepted at your ED school, you will tell any schools that have accepted you EA no. By committing to a single school, you demonstrate that it's your top choice.

3. Restrictive Early Action (REA): REA is a hybrid between EA and ED. Like EA, if you're accepted, it's non-binding. But like ED, you may only apply to one school with an REA policy - you cannot apply to any other private college EA or ED, although you are allowed to apply to public institutions EA if you wish. However, you're still allowed to apply to other schools through regular decision or Early Decision II. Colleges use REA to gauge applicants' interest in their school while still letting them explore other options.

In reality, you likely won't need to make a choice between REA and any other early admissions options, as this is quite a niche option only offered at a handful of schools, primarily exceptionally selective ones like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford. Your decision will instead be whether you're prefer to apply REA to one school or ED at another, as you won't be able to do both. If you're unsure about committing to a college, the non-binding factor of REA might be more suitable for you, but keep in mind the policy is still restrictive in its own way.

If you want to read more about REA, check out CollegeVine's blog post on this particular admissions policy: https://blog.collegevine.com/what-is-restrictive-early-action-when-applying-to-college. You can also reach out directly to the admissions offices at the schools you're considering that have REA for clarification on anything you're still confused about. Good luck determining which admissions track is right for you!

6 months ago

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