Last week we focused on Early Decision, this week I’d like to shine the spotlight on my favorite of the three application options: Early Action.

In a nutshell, early action applications come with many of the same benefits that early decision plans do, but without all of the baggage. As a refresher, those benefits are: receiving your admissions decision early (generally by or around Christmas time), having a higher chance of being admitted, and demonstrating an interest in a college.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, it should also be said (again, and again, and again) that early action policies vary from school to school. It’s important that you do your research and look up the specific policy at each school you are applying to.

Similarly, early action is not offered by every college. You’ll have to check with each school on your list to find out whether or not this is an option for you, and beyond that, you’ll have to figure out if it’s the right option for you.

Early action might be for you if…

  • You want to show a college that you’re serious
  • You are able to submit your best possible application early. Meaning your test scores are where you want them to be, your GPA is where you want it to be and you’ve had adequate time to make your essays as strong as they can possibly be
  • You would like to receive an admissions decision by or around Christmas Break.

Early Action might not be for you if…

  • You cannot submit your best application by the early action deadline.
  • You’re signed up for another ACT or SAT after a college’s early action deadline
  • If the policy offered by one of your colleges is actually a restrictive early action policy (see the previous post in series for more)

In general, there are three possible outcomes when you apply to a school under an early action plan:

Accepted: Great news! And remember, early action is not binding, so just because you were accepted does not mean you are committed. You’re free to wait until May 1st to make your final decision.

Denied: Unfortunately, this is a final decision. 99% of the time you are not allowed to reapply with the regular decision applicant pool. In this case, no means no.

Deferred: Your application will be placed in the regular application applicant pool and reevaluated compared to the general applicant pool, Basically, a deferral means that the admissions officers like what they see so far, but that they’d like to get a better feel for the incoming freshmen class as a whole before making a final decision. This is a good sign. Many students who are deferred end up being accepted eventually.

If you find yourself faced with a deferral come December, don’t be discouraged. There are often steps you can take to increase your chances of being admitted. If you’d like help with this, reach out to a student services consultant at PES.

Thanks for joining me in this series! Remember to weigh out all of your options carefully and make the best decision for YOU.

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