Applying to college is confusing enough, as a teenager pauses to reflect on their young life to date in order to enter adulthood with an understanding of themselves. Then, in determining when to apply, applicants can only add confusion. So, to dispel urban legend about Early Admissions, I’ll explain Early Action, Early Decision and differences between Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2.
Choosing Early Action (EA), students must apply in early November, typically two months before the Regular Decision deadlines, and will receive an admissions response by mid-December, but do not have to accept an admissions offer until May 1 of their high school senior year, thus are able to consider the breadth of admissions offers they might receive.
While Early Decision I (ED I) applicants also apply in early November, as well as receive an admissions response by mid-December, ED 1 students must accept an offer of admissions and are obligated to remove any other college applications submitted. ED applicants do not gain the benefit of considering a breadth of admissions offers nor can compare financial aid offers amongst a variety of colleges.
Early Decision 2 (ED 2) applicants are similarly bound to attend a college, if accepted; however, will submit an application in January instead of November. Some college admissions officers arrange for an ED 2 round to capture students who may not have been admitted to another college in early admissions, or needed additional time to consider a binding commitment to a college until January.
With an Early Action or Early Decision 1 application, students can be accepted, denied, or deferred to have their applications reviewed in the Regular Decision pool, which can add complications in an already complicated time in a teenager’s life as they transition to adulthood. Students, with their families, should carefully consider their options before determining when to apply to college.
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