What is the Difference Between Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA)?
As you begin looking at colleges, it is not only natural to start ranking your choices, but it is actually a very helpful idea. After doing the necessary background research, it is important to start deciding which universities are your primary choices. In the era of the Common Application when you can apply to dozens of schools, many people feel that it's better to apply first and chose later. However, knowing where exactly you want to go before you apply can actually help your chances of getting in.
Many schools offer special admission options which can give you a decision earlier (which helps end one of the most stressful times in a student's life) and can actually increase chances of getting accepted. The options you need to look for are Early Decision and Early Action. But what's the difference?
• Early Decision The most common option given, Early Decision allows an applicant to formally state their intention to enroll in the school if they get accepted. This is a legal, binding agreement and your parents or legal guardians are obligated to cosign the early decision agreement. Colleges accept a certain amount of Early Decisions, so when you apply ED you are only competing with other ED students and not students who are looking to play the field or are only using the school as a safety. You have a better chance of getting into the college of your choice if you apply ED, as it demonstrates your true commitment to the school. Beware though, ED students tend to get locked out of financial aid awards. Think about it—what monetary incentive does a college have to entice you to go there is you are already if you already signed a contract promising you will go if accepted? This is why most ED kids are not offered financial aid awards. However, you can apply for private scholarships (Kweller Prep can help) throughout the rest of the year. Overall, ED is so nice! About 6 weeks after applying to the college of your dreams, you will know if you got in! Amazing! You can then truly start enjoying your senior year of highs school.
• Early Action Early Action is a much more recent development and is not as common as Early Decision. The difference between the two is that Early Action does not require you to enroll in the school if accepted. In other words, you are not obligated to attend if accepted. Because of this, more people are likely to apply EA, even students who aren't as serious about that particular school. For a list of colleges that accept EA applications, click here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/354075-list-colleges-early-action-early-decision-rolling-admissions.html