Does Early Action Improve my chances?
This all comes down to the college and many colleges do tend to have higher acceptance rates doing these rounds, however, don't be fooled. Most people applying for Early Action are confident with their application and therefore are more likely to have a higher chance of admittance. I would only recommend applying EA if you are confident your application is as best as it can be and this is the college you want
Early Decision, not Early Action, most likely will improve your chances. EA is not the same thing and more often than not EA rates are closer to RD rates than ED rates. And if a college has both ED and ED, the ED rate will be 2X to 3X more favorable than the EA rate. Tulane and UVA are perfect examples.
For some applicants, choosing the EA path will not help them but hurt them. If you have any of these 5 issues with your application, then do not apply early:
1. You do not have a test score but want to apply with a test score. Or if you have a low test score and trying to improve your SAT or ACT.
2. You are a poor writer and have mediocre essays.
3. If your grades are on an upward trend and need more runway to show that upward trend.
4. If you have stacked your course rigor Senior year, you will need more time to show colleges you can do the work load and get good grades.
5. If you are developing a "spike", "wow factor" or "EC" into something that will differentiate you from other candidates.
While it's true that EA admit rates might be 2X - 2.5X more than RD. Keep in mind that top colleges recommend all their ALDC candidates to apply EA and they can easily fill 40% of their freshman class with ALDC admits. If you are not a Recruited (A) thlete, (L) egacy, (D) evelopment candiate from a wealth donor or (C) hild of a faculty/staff, you will have a harder time applying EA.
Lastly, the application pool is fiercely compete EA, so by the time you factor out all the ALDC admits and top applicants, you will find that the 7.9% EA rate at Harvard or the 10.5% EA rate at Yale, is closer to 2-3% at Harvard and 4-5% at Yale.
Depends on the school. Usually it does by at least a little bit; but at some schools its a very slight chance whereas at others it is basically a requirement to apply early action (for instance, I believe about 98% of enrolled UMD students applied early action).
Some schools also have other perks with Early Action. Going back to the example of UMD; there applying EA means you are automatically considered for a number of merit scholarships, some of which you could not apply for otherwise.
Look into the individual early action policies of the colleges you're applying to.
Going off of what @hamad said, EA applicants tend to be more proactive/better scores/gpa so they may have a higher acceptance rate due to that. Because of this, I would really only recommend applying early action if your stats align with the school. That's just from what I read online though so it may be different.
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