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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  All other submitted college applications must be withdrawn.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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