Debunking Early Action, Early Decision and Early Admission

Debunking admission processes

Are you a high school student preparing for the college application process? Do you find yourself confused about the various terms and options available, such as Early Decision, Early Action, and Early Admission? Fear not! In this article, we will dive deep into the intricacies of these application processes, providing you with a comprehensive understanding and answering frequently asked questions. By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to navigate these options and make informed decisions about your college journey.

Early Decision: The Commitment

Early Decision (ED) is an application process offered by many colleges and universities. It involves submitting your application early, typically by November 1st of your senior year, and receiving an admission decision well in advance of the regular decision notification date. However, unlike regular decision, Early Decision is binding, which means that if you are accepted, you are obligated to enroll in that particular institution and withdraw any applications you may have submitted to other schools.

Example: Sarah's Early Decision Journey

Sarah had her heart set on attending a prestigious university. She knew that applying through Early Decision would increase her chances of acceptance. After careful consideration, Sarah submitted her application by the Early Decision deadline, along with all the necessary materials and a heartfelt personal statement. A few weeks later, Sarah received the exciting news—she was accepted! With joy and relief, Sarah withdrew her applications from other colleges and happily committed to her dream school.

Early Action: The Non-Binding Option

Early Action (EA) is another early application process available at many institutions. Unlike Early Decision, Early Action is non-binding, which means that if you are accepted, you have the freedom to choose whether or not to enroll. This option allows students to apply to multiple colleges and universities simultaneously and compare admission offers before making a final decision.

Example: Mark's Early Action Experience

Mark was an ambitious student with a diverse range of interests. He decided to apply to several top-tier universities through Early Action to explore his options. Mark carefully researched each institution's requirements and submitted his applications by the Early Action deadline. As a result, he received multiple acceptance letters. Mark was delighted to have the opportunity to choose among prestigious institutions and took his time weighing his options before making a final decision.

Early Admission: Getting a Head Start

Early Admission is a term used to encompass both Early Decision and Early Action, referring to the broader category of early application processes. It allows students to submit their applications ahead of the regular decision deadline, providing an advantage by receiving an admission decision sooner. While the specific policies may vary across colleges, Early Admission generally offers applicants a chance to showcase their commitment and enthusiasm for a particular institution.

Example: Emily's Early Admission Success

Emily was a motivated student who had always dreamt of attending a specific university known for its strong engineering program. She decided to apply through Early Admission to demonstrate her sincere interest in the institution. Emily worked diligently on her application, ensuring her academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, and personal essay highlighted her passion for engineering. Her efforts paid off when she received an early acceptance letter, solidifying her confidence in pursuing her dream career path.

FAQ 1: Can I apply to multiple colleges through Early Decision?
No, Early Decision is a binding agreement, and you can apply to only one college through this process. By submitting an Early Decision application, you are making a commitment to enroll in that particular institution if accepted. It is essential to carefully consider your options and choose a college that aligns with your academic and personal goals.

FAQ 2: Is Early Decision beneficial for students who are unsure about their college choice?
Early Decision is most suitable for students who have conducted thorough research and are confident about their top-choice institution. Since Early Decision is a binding agreement, it is not recommended for students who are uncertain or wish to compare multiple college offers. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons and understand the level of commitment Early Decision entails before making a decision.

FAQ 3: What are the advantages of applying through Early Decision?
Applying through Early Decision offers several advantages. Firstly, it demonstrates your commitment and genuine interest in the institution, as colleges value students who are enthusiastic about attending their school. Additionally, the admission rates for Early Decision applicants can be higher than the regular decision pool. Finally, receiving an early acceptance allows you to plan ahead and relieve some of the stress associated with the college application process.

FAQ 4: Can I apply for financial aid if I choose Early Decision?
Yes, you can still apply for financial aid if you choose Early Decision. It is important to note that each institution may have different policies regarding financial aid for Early Decision applicants. Some colleges guarantee to meet your demonstrated financial need, while others may provide merit-based scholarships. It is crucial to research the financial aid policies of the college you are applying to and understand any specific requirements or deadlines.

FAQ 5: Can I be deferred from Early Decision to the regular decision pool? Yes, it is possible to be deferred from Early Decision to the regular decision pool. Being deferred means that the college has decided to postpone making a final decision on your application and will reconsider it along with the regular decision applicants. If you are deferred, you may be asked to submit additional materials or updated grades for further evaluation. While being deferred can be disheartening, it still offers you a chance for admission, and it is important to follow the college's instructions and maintain your academic performance.

FAQ 6: Is Early Action the same as Early Decision?
No, Early Action is different from Early Decision. While both are early application options, Early Action is non-binding, meaning that if you are accepted, you are not obligated to enroll. Early Action allows students to apply to multiple colleges and compare offers before making a final decision. On the other hand, Early Decision is a binding agreement, and if accepted, you must enroll in that particular institution.


Navigating the college application process can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to Early Decision, Early Action, and Early Admission. However, by understanding the key differences and implications of these application processes, you can make informed decisions about your college journey. Remember to carefully research and consider your options, align your choices with your academic and personal goals, and seek guidance from college counselors or mentors when needed. By doing so, you can embark on an exciting and successful college experience.