Early Action vs Early Decision: A Comparative Guide

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Early Action vs Early Decision

The road to higher education is an exciting but difficult one, filled with many choices and due dates. One of the most important choices high school students will have to make as they head into their senior year is whether to apply to universities through the Early Action (EA) or Early Decision (ED) programs. These choices provide applicants with a chance to demonstrate their dedication and zeal while possibly improving their chances of being accepted. In this blog post, we’ll examine the fundamental distinctions between Early Action vs Early Decision, as well as the advantages, factors to take into account, and consequences of each option.

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What is Early Action?

Early Action (EA) is a non-obligatory admission procedure. Early Action applicants submit their applications early, typically in November, and find out whether they’ve been admitted in December.

It’s an excellent method for students to start the college admission process early and learn whether they have been accepted. Importantly, students have until the regular decision date to decide whether or not to enrol; Early Action does not constitute a commitment to attend the college.

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What is an Early Decision?

Early Decision is a binding admission process. Students who apply through Early Decision also submit their applications early and receive admissions decisions in December.

However, if a student is accepted through Early Decision, they are required to enrol in that college and withdraw all other college applications.

It’s a legally binding commitment and is best suited for students who are certain about their top-choice college and are willing to commit to attending if accepted.

Early Action vs Early Decision

Some colleges and universities in the USA provide prospective students with Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) admissions procedures. These procedures give students the opportunity to submit applications to the schools they want to before the traditional application deadline, which is usually in the final year of high school. But there are some significant variations between the two:

ParticularsEarly ActionEarly Decision
Application DateEarly Action applicants must submit their applications before the standard decision date, which is often in November.Just like Early Action, Early Decision applications are also filed earlier, frequently in November.
Notification TimingEarly Action applicants typically receive their admissions decisions in December.Similar to Early Action, admissions decisions for Early Decision applicants are typically made public in December.
Non-BindingSubmitting an Early Action application does not obligate you to enrol in the college. Accepted applicants have until the deadline for regular decision responses to make a final enrollment choice.After submitting an Early Decision application and being accepted, a student must withdraw all other college applications and enrol in the institution. It’s a contract that’s enforceable in law.

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Things to Know Before Applying

Some colleges and universities in the US provide prospective students with Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) admissions procedures. These procedures give students the opportunity to submit applications to the schools they want to before the traditional application deadline, which is usually in the final year of high school. 

Early Action: A Flexible Strategy

Students can apply to colleges earlier than the standard deadline through the early action application process, which is non-binding. There are various benefits to choosing this option, including:

Reduced Stress: Students who apply through Early Action can finish their applications earlier, which lessens the stress related to the college application process.

Comparative Advantage: Admissions panels frequently value the zeal that Early Action applicants exhibit. This may provide students with an advantage over applicants who submit their applications during the usual decision cycle.

Examining: Students who submit an Early Action application may still submit a standard decision application to other universities. This provides consumers with the freedom to research many possibilities and evaluate offers before deciding.

Greater Planning Flexibility: Early Action applicants receive admissions decisions sooner, allowing them more time to plan and get ready for their college adventure.

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Early Decision: A First-Choice Commitment

Early Decision is a legally binding application process that calls for applicants to make a promise to enrol in the college if selected. This choice has particular advantages and things to keep in mind:

Higher Acceptance Rates: Early Decision applicants are more likely to be accepted by many universities since they show a strong commitment to enrolling there.

Focused Effort: By applying Early Decision, students can focus all of their energy on their top-choice institution, which could improve the strength of their application.

Quick Resolution: Admission decisions for Early Decision applicants typically arrive by December, bringing clarity and removing doubt at an earlier stage of the application process.

Financial Consequences: Early Decision is legally binding, therefore students must be ready to enrol in college regardless of financial assistance offers. Particularly for families who are struggling financially, this issue needs to be carefully considered.

Relevant Read: Parents Guide to University Applications


Q1. Does MIT give an option for an early decision or Early Action?

Ans. No, MIT does not provide any early action decisions for students. 

Q2. Can I apply to both Harvard and MIT Early Action?

Ans. A Harvard Early Action applicant cannot submit an Early Action application to the universities mentioned below:
Stanford University
Yale University
Princeton University
Caltech University
Chicago University
MIT University

Q3. Does Princeton offer Early Decision? 

Ans. Princeton offers a single-choice early action program. It is a nonbinding program for students who have thoroughly researched their college options and have decided that Princeton is their first choice. Students must complete their application by Nov.

This was all about Early Action vs Early Decision. If you wish to study abroad then contact Leverage Edu experts at 1800 57 2000 for more information and updates.

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