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Apply to College: Early Action vs Early Decision Vs Regular Decision

Once you have decided which schools you will apply, you must determine what type of application is best for you. Options vary from Early Decision, Early Action to Regular Decision. What’s the DIFFERENCE? And WHY does it matter?


Here is what we know about these options, so you can choose which may best for you!


1. Applying to Early Decision

  • This is a binding agreement. You are expected to withdraw all other applications and attend this school if you are accepted to an Early Decision application.

  • You can only apply to one school Early Decision.

  • Since you are getting the result earlier, it can reduce the stress of the selection process.

This is only suitable for students who know for sure which university they want to attend. If you are accepted to an Early Decision, you agree to withdraw all other applications and attend this university. This speaks loudly about your commitment to the school, but your chance of admission won’t be increased drastically because you are applying through Early Decision.


2. Applying to Early Action

  • The application deadline is often a month earlier than Regular Decision deadline. Admissions essays will be prepared in less time.

  • You shall receive an admission decision typically by mid-December which can allow you to focus on applying for scholarships in the second semester.

  • The offer is not binding.You have until 1 May to make an official decision.

Different from Early Decision, Early Action is an option that lets you apply to a school early without the “binding contract”, receiving early responses without having to commit to a single school. This is particularly suitable for those of you who want to focus on finishing the second semester of the senior year strong.


3. Applying to college Regular Decision

  • Candidates have a later deadline to submit their Regular Decision application.

  • You are required to make your final college decision by 1 May.

Regular Decision is a great option if you are planning to retake ACT or SAT for a higher score to increase chances of being accepted. It is beneficial to those who need a strong fall semester to bring grades up. Applying Regular Decision gives you more time not only to perfect your essays, but also to discover what you truly want to study.

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