Early Action: Non-Binding and Contract-Free!
College jargon scrambling your brain? We know. We’ve already covered early decision (you know, that binding contract with a prospective college) so it only makes sense to talk a bit more about early action.
Early action, or EA, is non-binding. You turn your college app in early, just like you would with early decision, somewhere around November or December, and receive an answer a few months earlier than regular admission students, like December or January (instead of March or April) but with a major difference -– no contracts!
There are two types of early action:
If you apply to a school with a restrictive early action plan, you can’t apply for any other early action or early decision plan at any other college – in other words: choose wisely, young Padawan. You can only apply to that one college or university but you aren’t required to accept an offer of admission (like you are with early decision).
Colleges with a non-restrictive early action plan let you apply to whatever colleges you are interested in, provided, of course, that they are also non-restrictive early action colleges (or you’ve applied for regular admission). You can also apply to one early decision college in addition to multiple non-restrictive early action colleges.
If you receive early action acceptance, you have a chance to play around with the numbers, like compare how your financial aid packages measure up, maybe make another campus visit or two, and really finalize where you can see yourself spending the next four years of your life.
Your application can be deferred, meaning the admissions office could sit on your college application until the regular admissions process begins. Your application will be looked at one last time and you will receive the verdict with the rest of the regular admissions bunch.
Early action denied? It can happen to the best of us, and, if it does, at least you know sooner, rather than later, right? Also, you still have the other schools you applied to (at least you should have applied to other schools, including some “safety” schools).
If you love the college and are mostly sure you would like to attend but you don’t want the binding factor as with early decision (or your college of choice doesn’t even offer early decision), early action may be a great alternative!