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What are the differences between early action and early decision?

Hi all! I'm a junior and I'm starting to plan my college applications. I've heard about early action and early decision but I'm not sure about the differences between them. Can someone explain the main differences and the pros and cons of each? Thanks in advance!

10 months ago

Hi there! It's great that you're starting to plan your college applications early. Early action (EA) and early decision (ED) are both options that allow you to apply to colleges earlier than the regular decision deadline, usually around November. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Early Action: This is a non-binding option, which means that if you're accepted, you're not obligated to enroll in the college. You'll typically receive your admission decision by mid-December, giving you plenty of time to compare offers from other schools and make an informed decision. Pros of EA include getting your decision early, less stress during the holidays, and more time to plan for financial aid and housing. The main con is that it may be more competitive than regular decision, as colleges may have a limited number of spots for early applicants.

Early Decision: ED is a binding option, which means that if you're accepted, you agree to enroll in the college and withdraw all other applications. You should only apply ED if you're 100% sure that the school is your top choice. Pros of ED include demonstrating your commitment to the school, a potentially higher acceptance rate compared to regular decision, and an earlier admission decision. The main cons are the binding commitment (which may cause issues if you change your mind or if the financial aid package isn't sufficient) and the pressure to make a decision before exploring all options.

In summary, if you're certain about your top choice and are ready to commit, early decision might be the right choice for you. If you want the benefits of an early decision without the binding commitment, early action would be a better fit. Good luck with your applications!

10 months ago

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