Are you wondering what is REA in college admissions?

If you are in the process of applying to colleges and universities, you are probably very familiar with the different application options. 

If not, you will want to understand the difference between terms like “Early Action” and “Regular Decision” because they determine how you apply to college. A lesser known term is Restrictive Early Action or REA.

So, let’s talk about what exactly the term REA means in college admissions.

What Is REA In College Admissions?

Restrictive early action (REA) is also known as single-choice early action (SCEA). This application type allows academically rigorous students to demonstrate their interest and commitment to a particular university.

You can submit an early application to a school through Restricted Early Action (REA).

Understand that this does not require a formal commitment from your end (as is the case with Early Decision). However, if you choose this option, you can only apply to one school in the early decision round of applications. 

In general, if you apply early to an REA College, you will not be permitted to apply early to any other private college, even if the policies of those other colleges differ.

More on Restrictions for REA Applications

When we say “early,” we mean that you are not permitted to submit an Early Decision or Early Action application to any private colleges while you apply to an REA college. 

Occasionally, exceptions are made for Early Action 2 or Early Decision 2. This is because some individuals who need consideration for scholarships will apply early.

What comes next for REA Applicants?

Even if you are accepted into an REA College, you are not obligated or legally bound to attend.

In most cases, students are not required to decide between attending an REA College until May 1st prior to the beginning of the academic year. 

Selective colleges typically make the REA application plan available to prospective students. 

The number of institutions that have this choice is limited. It is mainly offered by extremely prestigious schools that have no trouble attracting students.

For instance, Stanford, Georgetown, Harvard, and Yale are all home to REA programs.

What Types of Students Should Consider Applying REA?

Students that enroll in REA typically have impressive academic records because REA applications are highly selective.

A good candidate for REA acceptance is not waiting for better grades to come in to bump up a GPA. This also applies to standardized testing for college; they should not be waiting to retake the ACT or SAT. It is important to be in a strong academic position before putting efforts into an REA application.

That said, if you are a student looking to boost your chances of admittance into a “reach” school, this could also be a good opportunity. 

This is because the admission rates for REA are significantly higher than those for Regular Decision. 

And now you know what REA is in college admissions! We hope that by understanding the different types of college applications and decisions, it can inform your college application strategy.

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