Tag early decision

Early Decision and Early Action 2

The process of applying to college has become increasingly strategic for both students and colleges.  With students applying to more colleges and colleges receiving more applications than ever, there’s increased pressure on both sides.  Students want to know “Will the college accept me?”  Colleges want to know “Will the student enroll here?”  That’s where early deadline come in.  Applying early typically gives you a slight advantage in the application process and signals to the college (especially with Early Decision) that their school is at the top of your list.   

So, what’s up with Early Decision or Early Action 2?   

Early Decision 2 (ED2) and Early Action 2 (EA2) are the second round of early deadlines.  Perhaps things didn’t work out as you planned with your first round of early applications, or maybe you just weren’t ready to apply at the time of the first deadlines.  ED2 and EA2 give you a second chance at an early application. 

As with the first-round of these same application plans – you may only apply to one school as an Early Decision applicant, but you can apply to multiple schools as an Early Action applicant.  

Should I apply with Early Decision 2 or Early Action 2?     

ED2 and EA2 may give you a slight admission advantage just like you had with ED1 or EA1.  Schools tend to admit a higher percentage of students from their early pools as compared to the percent they admit from the regular decision pool.  If there is a school that is top on your list but you still haven’t applied, it may help to apply in the ED2 or EA2 round. But, remember!! If you apply as an Early Decision 2 applicant – you are committing yourself to attend that school if they admit you.  Meaning ED2 should be reserved ONLY if you are willing to enroll!  

But my Early Decision 1 application was accepted… 

Congratulations!  You are done with the admission process!  Your early decision admission is a binding offer meaning you committed to enrolling at that school when you applied ED1.   

What about my Early Action 1 applications…? 

You have likely received decisions from schools that you applied to in the first round of Early Action.  Admitted or denied, you can still submit applications to other schools if you like (EA1 is non-binding).  

What if I was denied as an ED1 or EA1 applicant – can I apply again in ED2 or EA2?  

You can’t apply to the same school again – just one application per school.  And while it doesn’t feel good to get a “no” decision from a college, ED2 and EA2 give you an opportunity to set your sights on a new first choice school.   

Take Action 

If all these deadlines have your head spinning, be sure to talk to your advisor about your application strategy.  Don’t forget –  

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Have you heard from your Early Action or Early Decision schools?


It’s December!  Holidays, family, days off from school – and college decisions?!  That’s right, if you applied to any of the schools on your list in the first round of early action or early decision, you’ll probably be receiving decisions soon (if you haven’t already).  This month be sure to: 

  • Watch for admissions emails or letters from colleges. 
  • Decide on your next steps. 

Which type of early application did you complete?   Pick the type from the following list.

Next Steps 

As decisions start to roll in, what should you do now? 

  1. I was admitted Early Decision.  Congratulations!!  You are done!! Early decision means that you are required to attend if the school offers you admission.  This means no more applications for you!  You should call any other school to which you have applied to withdraw your application.  You should also not submit any new applications. Revel in the freedom from college applications for the rest of your senior year!  
  2. I was admitted Early Action (or Restrictive Early Action or Rolling Admission).  Congratulations!!  You’ve got some thinking to do.  Early action admits have until May 1 to decide whether you want to enroll.  You’ll be spending some time over the next few months comparing schools, academic programs, and financial aid awards.  You may also want to do visits (or second visits) to the schools you’ve been admitted to before making your final decision.   
  3. I was deferred.  It’s not over yet.  The school has not made a final decision on your application.  They’ve decided they want more time to consider you.  You should follow up with the college to inquire whether you can submit any additional information like senior mid-year grades, new test scores, an additional recommendation, etc.  Consider submitting additional applications so that you have some back-up options.  
  4. I was denied.  So perhaps you were not admitted to your early application school(s).  That’s ok!  You might have known it was a “reach” when you applied Early Decision but it still stings when you aren’t offered admission.  Take time to process that and then refocus on your other options.  Submit any applications that are still outstanding and consider submitting as an Early Decision II or Early Action II candidate.  The second-round early deadlines can still give you an edge with your new first choice school.  

Take Action  

Use GuidedPath to manage all your admissions decisions.  

  1. Record your outcomes in your GuidedPath account.  Mark admissions, deferments or non-admissions under Decisions. 
  2. Use Plans to re-organize and add round 2 applications if needed. 
  3. Use Progress to view application progress for all college applications.

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Do early birds really have an edge in admissions?

Do early birds really have an edge in admissions?  The answer is often yes!  The purpose of submitting an application to a college early is to indicate your top preference for that college or a small group of colleges.  Colleges appreciate knowing you are likely to enroll if admitted. With Early Action and Early Decision, you hear sooner whether you’ve been accepted to your “dream” school” and there is often a significant admission advantage to applying early.   

What is the difference between the three early application types? 

  • Early Action is a plan offered by colleges allowing students to apply early and receive an admissions decision earlier than the regular decision dates. Early Action is typically non-binding (i.e. you are not required to enroll if you are accepted) and you may submit early action applications to more than one school. You can apply regular admissions to any other colleges. 
  • Restrictive Early Action (REA) “restricts” you from applying to any other school under an early action or early decision plan. With REA, you may only submit one early application, however the admission decision is non-binding (you are not required to enroll if you are accepted). In this case, you should decide if this college is your “Dream School”.  If Yes – apply using the restrictive early action plan. If No – apply regular decision so that you may submit early applications to other schools that are higher on your list. You can apply regular admissions to any other colleges. 
  • Early Decision is the most restrictive of all the early plans.  Students may only submit one Early Decision
    application and if you are admitted, you are committed to enrolling at the college.  If you are accepted early decision, you must also withdraw your applications to any other college you’ve applied to.  

Why Apply Early? 

There are advantages or disadvantages to applying early. However, the following table shows an advantage in admissions when applying Early Decision at some of the top universities in the country.  If you have a school that clearly stands out as your “Top Choice”, it may be wise to apply Early Decision to gain a better chance of admission.

Financial Aid 

You can now submit financial aid forms starting Oct. 1, using last year’s taxes.  This gives colleges an opportunity to consider your financial aid or merit awards along with your admissions decision.  Often students who apply early are offered more financial aid. 

Take Action 

GuidedPath is designed to help you maximize early applications.  To manage Early applications: 

  1. Set up your application plans. For each school, decide which type of application you will submit – Early Action, Early Decision or Regular Decision.  
  2. Remember – you may have only one Early Decision or Restrictive Early Action application.  Be sure that school is your first choice.

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Should I do an early application to get an edge in admissions?

The purpose of submitting an application to a college early is to indicate your top preference for that college or a small group of colleges.  Colleges appreciate knowing you are likely to enroll if admitted. You benefit because you hear early from your “dream” school if you are admitted or not.

The key to managing your college applications is knowing the difference between the three early application types, and when to use them. Most early admission application due dates are in November, with a notification date in December.

Think of early action as chips in your college admissions game. You can spend your chips in different ways.

Early Action

A plan offered by colleges allowing students to apply early and receive an admissions decision earlier than the regular decision dates. You can spend multiple chips to apply Early Action. Students can often submit early action applications to more than one school. You can apply regular admissions to any other colleges. Students have until May 1 to confirm enrollment, and are not required to commit if accepted.

Restrictive Early Action

You only have one chip (early application). You have to decide which one college is at the top of your “dream” list and place your chip there. You are restricted from applying EA or ED to any other college.  You can apply regular admissions to any other colleges.

Early Decision

Another one chip choice, students are restricted to choosing one college to apply to Early Decision. If a student is admitted Early Decision, you are committed to attend the college.  No other applications can be submitted.  All other submitted college applications must be withdrawn.  The up side to Early Decision is you hear early. The downside can be in terms of financial aid options offered.

Why Apply Early?

There is a lot of debate the advantages or disadvantages of applying early. The following table shows the difference in admissions rates between Early Decision and Regular Decision at some of the top universities in the country. This data quells any question about how beneficial applying Early Decision can be.


College Early Decision Acceptance Rate Regular Admissions Rate
Brown 19% 9%
Cornell 30% 16%
Dartmouth 29% 10%
University of Pennsylvania 25% 12%
Vanderbilt University 22% 13%


Your Edge

Edge is designed to help you maximize early applications.  To manage Early applications:

  1. Set up application plans. Select decision type…..

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