As senior year winds down, many students are finalizing their college choices. But is applying early a wise move? Does it increase acceptance chances, or is it just a way to check off a task? Why have a regular deadline at all? Let’s delve into the mysteries of early college applications. After all, the early bird catches the worm.
Why should I apply early at all?
Think about it: if you’re ambitious (or just plain determined) and want to sort out your admissions soon, then you’ll choose to apply early. Not every college offers this option, though. Those that provide the option do so to attract highly qualified and committed students. Additionally, it allows them to better manage their enrollment and plan for the future.
Early applications are helpful for several reasons. You increase your chances of getting in, find out early if you’re accepted, and can cross it off your list before exams. Also, applying early shows the college you’re really interested in attending. That’s one way to impress a college with your dedication (or ambition)!
Will I really get in if I apply early?
Let’s discover what types of early applications exist:
- Early Action (EA): Early Action allows students to submit their application early, typically in the fall, before the regular deadline. If you choose EA, you are not obligated to attend the college if accepted and can compare offers from other colleges before making a final decision.
- Early Decision (ED): Early Decision allows students to apply early, but be careful with this decision. Choosing an ED requires you to attend the college you’ve applied to upon acceptance. For this reason, students are only allowed to apply to one ED college. This option gives you two deadlines, ED I and ED II. This is if you don’t get your acceptance from your ED I college and want to apply to another.
By choosing EA or ED, students receive acceptances early, but with EA, you can receive multiple offers. This way, when you’ve applied for financial aid, you can compare offers and decide.
Forbes reports that acceptance rates of universities offering early applications (ED II) nearly double compared to regular application rounds. Even though the deadline for both rounds is only a few days apart, the pool of applicants varies greatly. This pool is smaller during ED II and less competitive so applying early makes sense. Early application has become more popular among students, including more applicants from underrepresented minorities. Having a well-rounded and competitive application, as well as high scores on the SAT and ACT, can give you an edge for acceptance. Check out these tips to plan your test prep and maximize your chances of getting accepted.
It’s imperative to remember that colleges check your final grades. So, even if you apply early, don’t slack off after applying. Maintain a good work ethic and grades to ensure a smooth admission process. Early application is just one factor because colleges evaluate your academics, extracurriculars, essays, and other factors to decide if you’re a good fit.
Colleges with Early Action and Early Decision Application Options
Here are some colleges that offer Early Action and Early Decision options to students.
Colleges with Early Action Application Deadlines
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute Technology
- Stanford University
- Yale University
- Princeton University
- California Institute Technology
- University of Chicago
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
- University of Virginia
- University of Southern California
Colleges with Early Decision Application Deadlines
- Rice University
- Duke University
- Brown University
- Dartmouth College
- Columbia University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Vanderbilt University
- University of Chicago
- New York University
- Boston University
Applying early to college can give you an advantage by increasing your chances of acceptance, but it’s not a requirement. You don’t have to apply early if you need more time to feel ready. Instead, you can use that time to improve your application and apply in the regular decision round. So whether you apply early or later, always give your best effort. You know your capabilities better than anyone else.