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What Is Early Action for College?

Are you applying to schools and wondering what is early action for college? 

The application process for colleges may be challenging and stressful. It can involve hours of work and preparation. The various applications and submission periods can be very confusing.

The early action and early decision admissions processes are two alternatives to the traditional admissions procedure that are gaining in popularity.  

Students need to understand how to handle early action and early decision admissions processes to reap the benefits of these techniques during the college admissions process. 

Below, you’ll get an overview of early action and why you may want to consider it.  

What Is Early Action For College?

Early action is defined by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) as when “students apply early and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular response date.” 

In this accelerated college application process, students must submit their applications in November. Similarly to Early Decision, students will usually be notified of the college’s decision before the start of the following year.

What are the Advantages of Early Action?

First off, early action is not binding. Students will receive an early response to their application; however, they will not be required to decide between attending the college until the standard response date of May 1.

Next, submitting your application in this period ensures that you have less competition and may improve your acceptance odds. However, this is always the case. The percentage of early applicants that colleges accept and the proportion of the class admitted early vary from college to college.

However, even students who were not accepted through the early admissions process would still have their applications reviewed during the normal admissions process. So there’s not much to lose here.

Another advantage of taking early action is that if a student is accepted early by a college, the student’s senior spring will be much less stressful than it would have been otherwise.

Another thing is that a student is not required to attend the college to which they were first accepted if they decide to enroll in another institution instead.

A select group of colleges and universities provide a kind of early action known as single-choice early action. 

What is Single Choice Early Action?

Single choice early action offers the same advantages as traditional early action, except that students are not permitted to submit early applications to any other universities.

Through single-choice early action, you are not bound in any manner. Conversely, the college enjoys the benefit of having early candidates who have made it apparent that they would like to attend their school. 

Because of this, it is much simpler for the college to estimate the number of applications it will receive.

Which Schools Offer Both Options?

Some schools, like the University of Notre Dame and Stanford University, offer an early admissions plan hybrid of regular early action and single-choice early action. 

Students who are applying to schools that use restrictive early action have the option of applying to other schools that use early action. Still, they are unable to apply to schools that use early binding decisions.

To sum it up, early action is the process of applying early to a college or university to get a decision as soon as possible before the regular admissions. But the difference between this and an early decision is that early action is not binding.