When is Early Action Admissions a Good Idea?

Early action admission is a good idea for students who want to get a definitive letter from a college before their peers. Unlike early acceptance policies that require you agree to attend that college if you receive an acceptance letter, early action admission simply gives you an answer and lets you decide whether to attend. With early acceptance programs, you can only apply to one college early, but with early action, you can apply to multiple schools. Early action admissions is often a good idea for students who want to begin making their college plans early on.

Your Application is Strong

The best time to apply for early action is when you have a strong application already in place. Some students wait until later in the year because this gives them one last semester in which to increase their grade point averages and take part in extracurricular activities. Most colleges have a deadline in the late winter or early spring, but when you apply for early action, you usually need to submit a completed application packet by the beginning of December or before the start of winter break.

You Want to Beat Other Students

Early action admission is a good idea for those who want to get their foot in the door and beat the flood of applications the school will receive later in the year. Most colleges will look for the same information in early application packets as those schools do later, but you may find that you face less competition. Scoring a few points lower on the ACT or SAT, having fewer activities on your record or even scoring a slightly lower GPA may not harm you in the same way those factors would if you sent in your application later in the year.

You Need to Make Future Plans

High school students often start making plans for the future early in their senior year or even earlier. The sooner you know which schools accept you, the sooner you can start making your plans. Applying for an early action decision will show you which schools accept you and which turn you down. You can then compare the schools you were accepted at, look at the cost of attendance, research the programs available and even look at financial aid options. While colleges will not inform you of the financial aid you will get until March or later, you can get an idea as to the average size package most students receive.

You Want to Apply to Multiple Schools

According to Bradford Holmes of U.S. News & World Report, applying for early admission can give you peace of mind. This is especially important for those who want to apply to more than one college. Many schools will now let you apply for early action without demanding that you attend that school later, which lets you easily compare each of the schools you want to attend. Submitting your applications earlier in the year lets you get a jump start on your plans and helps you decide which of those schools is really right for you.

Early action admission policies let students submit their applications long before the traditional deadline. Early action admission is a good idea for students who want to start making future plans early, those who want to apply to multiple schools (please see: Cheapest Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees) and those who have a strong application and want to beat the flood of future applicants.