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Some high school seniors have their hopes and dreams set on admission into one specific school and that’s it. They may know right away that, if accepted, they will attend their first choice school. Many schools offer what is known as “early action” programs, where you can apply to your first choice school earlier than usual as well as receive a decision of your admission earlier. This program has its pros and cons and you should carefully analyze if it is something that would benefit you.
What is Early Action?
Not to be confused with “early decision” but “early action” is a program offered by some colleges and universities where you can apply to their school before the normal deadline. You will also receive a decision on your application earlier than normal as well. The average deadline for applying for early action is November, but can vary from school to school. The admissions office will let you know of their decision around December.
There are good things about Early Action, which make the program beneficial for a lot of students.
- Non-Binding: meaning that you can apply for the early action, but you will not be bound to attending the school if you are accepted. This means you can field letters of acceptance from other schools before making your decision.
- You can decide early. Some students really will attend their first choice school if they are accepted; by using the early action program, they can apply and begin the admission process early, instead of waiting until later in their senior year for the traditional deadlines.
- Non-restrictive: You can apply to more than one college or university under the early action program and regular admission programs. This will allow you to not only apply to your first choice school, but any other schools you may want to attend.
As there are pros, there are also cons to the Early Action program. Keep these in mind before applying for early action to the school of your choice.
- Single-Choice Early Action: This is a new version of the early action program that is being used by some schools. Single-Choice Early action is NOT binding, however under this program you cannot apply to other schools under their early programs. You can however, apply for regular admission to other schools.
- Competitive: Students who rank high in their high school class usually utilize Early Action programs. These students are usually highly intelligent and gifted; therefore admission during early action periods is very competitive.
Early Action should be used by students are who are confident in their grades and college admission testing scores. They should also be certain that the school(s) they want to apply early to, are the schools that they will most likely attend. Early Action generally gives a head start to students who are confident in their decision to attend a specific school. If you are unsure of the school you may want to attend, or you would like to throw your application out to a variety of schools, you should stick with the regular admission deadlines.
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