The difference between Early Action and Early Decision

When you choose the term you are applying for, some colleges offer additional Decision Plan options, such as early decision or early action.

  • Early Decision: The college commits to giving you the admission decision earlier than they inform other applicants. If you select Early Decision, you are committing to attending the college if you are accepted. Often this deadline is earlier than the general deadline for all applicants.

Key Concept

You can only apply for Early Decision at a single college. Because you are committing to attend if accepted, you can't apply to multiple schools for Early Decision.

 

  • Early Action: The college will try to get you a decision as soon as possible, but there is no guarantee. If you select Early Action, you are informing the college of your serious intent to attend if admitted, but there is no binding guarantee on your part to attend. Sometimes, this deadline is earlier than the general deadline for all applicants. 

 

Key Concept

You can apply for Early Action at multiple colleges. Colleges may inform you of a  decision earlier than they inform other applicants. But this is not binding on your part, and you can wait until the official response deadline (usually May 1) to inform the college if you accept.

 

For more about applying for Early Decision, see this article.

 

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