What is Early Action, Early Decision, Early Admission?

What is Early Action Early Decision Early Admission

Deciding when to apply for college can be a daunting task. With options like Early Action, Early Decision, and Early Admission, it's essential to understand the differences and choose the right path for you. Early action, early decision, and early admission are all college application processes that allow students to apply earlier than the regular deadline. These options can offer strategic advantages but require careful consideration due to their varying levels of commitment. In this blog, we will decode the mysteries surrounding these early application options and help the students make an informed decision. 

Early Action (EA)

Early Action is akin to getting a head start in the marathon of college applications. It is a non-binding option. It’s the strategic move that allows students to submit their applications earlier than the regular deadlines, offering a swift glimpse into their college future by December or January. This early bird approach significantly reduces the suspense and anxiety commonly associated with the college application process, giving the students ample time to explore and decide among various offers.

What’s great about Early Action is the flexibility it offers. Students can apply to several colleges and aren’t bound to commit if accepted. It’s essentially keeping their options open, allowing them to compare financial aid packages and make the most informed decision possible.

Early Decision (ED)

Early Decision, on the other hand, is the equivalent of placing all your bets on one number. It’s a binding agreement, signaling to the chosen college that they are the student's first choice and that they will enroll if accepted. This level of commitment can sometimes tip the scales in the student's favor, as it demonstrates unequivocal interest and dedication to the institution.

However, this route requires a high degree of certainty and confidence in the choice. Since it’s a binding commitment, the students need to be absolutely sure that the institution is their top choice and that they’re ready to commit financially, as they’ll have less flexibility to compare financial aid offers from other institutions.

Early Admission (EA)

Early Admission offers a unique pathway for students ready to embark on their college journey sooner than their peers. It’s designed for those who have completed their junior year of high school and are eager to dive into college-level coursework immediately. This option is perfect for students who are academically prepared and seeking to fast-track their education.

Opting for Early Admission requires thorough research and an understanding of each program’s specific demands and expectations, which can vary widely. It’s about finding the right fit for your academic ambitions and preparing for the college experience ahead of schedule.

About Early Action, Early Admission and Early Decision for College Admissions

Comparison Table

Aspect Early Action Early Decision

Early Admission

Time of Decision

Pros: Receive admissions decision early, typically by December or January.

Cons: Not obligated to commit to the college upon acceptance.

Pros: Receive admissions decision early, typically by December or January.

Cons: Legally binding commitment to attend if accepted.

Pros: Opportunity to begin college coursework early.

Cons: Varies widely among institutions; may require students to forego senior year experiences.


Pros: Non-binding; allows students to apply to multiple colleges and compare financial aid offers.

Cons: Some colleges may offer a restricted version of EA (Single-Choice Early Action), limiting applications to other early programs.

Pros: Demonstrates high level of interest to the college; may improve chances of acceptance.

Cons: Must withdraw applications from other colleges if accepted.

Pros: Accelerates academic pursuits for motivated students.

Cons: Limited availability and eligibility criteria can vary significantly.

Decision Pressure

Pros: Alleviates stress by providing early notification.

Cons: May feel rushed to make a decision.

Pros: Provides clarity and eliminates uncertainty early in the process.

Cons: Limited time to consider options and financial aid packages.

Pros: Jumpstarts college experience and academic advancement.

Cons: May miss out on senior year experiences and traditions.

Commitment Level

Pros: Allows students to keep options open until regular decision deadlines.

Cons: Lack of commitment may signal lower interest to some colleges.

Pros: Demonstrates commitment and dedication to the college.

Cons: Binding agreements may limit flexibility in decision-making.

Pros: Opportunity to immerse in college environment ahead of peers.

Cons: Requires commitment to the college before completing high school.



In essence, whether the students are leaning towards Early Action, Early Decision, or Early Admission, it’s crucial to weigh their options carefully, considering their readiness, confidence in their college choice, and financial implications. Each path offers distinct advantages and considerations, tailoring their application strategies to best suit their college aspirations and long-term goals.

Frequently Answered Questions

1. Can I apply to multiple colleges through Early Decision?
Ans: 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.

2. Is Early Decision beneficial for students who are unsure about their college choice?
Ans: 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.

3. What are the advantages of applying through Early Decision?
Ans: 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.

4. Can I apply for financial aid if I choose Early Decision?
Ans: 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.

5. Can I be deferred from Early Decision to the regular decision pool? Yes, it is possible to be deferred from Early Ans: 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.

6. Is Early Action the same as Early Decision?
Ans: 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.


TutelaPrep’s College Navigator allows students to search for colleges based on their preferred country and course. Not only that, it also provides valuable insights into each college’s specific admission requirements for those exams. Through College Navigator, you can even connect with alumni at your chosen colleges to get a firsthand feel for campus life and academics.


We hope this article helps you. Reach out to us by filling out our assistance form if you need any help with the preparations.