Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

ED gives you a much better chance of acceptance as the odds will have increased.

Ryan Aldrich
Director of College Counseling The White Mountain School

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

There have been books written about the Early Admission Game and whether this is an advantage in the application process. Generally speaking, students have a better percentage, even if it may be 1-2%, of being accepted if they apply early decision. Early action often does not offer a higher acceptance rate but provides the benefit of learning early what the admission decision from the college is. On the other hand, students often do benefit from getting their application in early.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

At some schools the percentage of students admitted who applied early is higher than those that applied during regular admission. It never hurts to let a school know it is your first choice. If you are a legacy and are interested in increasing your chances of admission, you generally must apply early.

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

Some colleges take up to 40% of their class through ED or EA while others take fewer. Georgetown University states on its website that a chances or admission are about the same whether EA or RD. Check the individual websites for the colleges where you will be applying.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

Yes, but how much of an advantage varies. Some colleges take a significantly higher percentage of applicants who apply using an early program, while other take only a handful more. It's fairly easy to find statistics on the percentage of applicants a certain school took in early action, early decision and regular decision cycles (check the school's website or do a web search to find statistics compiled by numerous periodicals). Keep in mind, though, that early decision is an option you should only use after a great deal of consideration. Early decision typically gives your application a generous boost toward acceptance, but it is a binding agreement (meaning that if you are accepted, you're bound to accept the school's offer). Don't make this choice lightly. A lot can change in senior year, and the school that you were ready to commit to whole-heartedly in November might not be the one you want to attend come March; if you've be accepted under early decision, you don't get to change your mind.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

Colleges will say usually say there are no benefits of applying early. That is not true. There are. The research shows that if you apply Early Decision you increase your odds of getting into a target college. Read these stats and see how kids who applied early had higher percent acceptance rates. http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/college-admits-2012/. Since many colleges take up to 40-50% of their class with early applicants and since fewer students apply early, the stats are in your favor. But more and more kids are applying early and more and more kids are getting deferred into the regular pot. So just be prepared. .

Edward LaMeire
CEO LaMeire College Consulting (lameirecollegeconsulting.com)

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

As I mentioned in another response, your odds of acceptance (statistically speaking) can go up dramatically through applying ED. With a school like Johns Hopkins, for instance, you're looking at an overall acceptance rate of around 18 percent. The ED acceptance rate is over double that. So, by the numbers, applying ED offers far better odds than otherwise. However, this brings up a question: Is the pool of applicants better in ED? In other words, does the strength of the other applicants outweigh the statistical advantage of applying ED? Even further, is this the cause of high ED admit rates? My perspective on this (and, frankly, I haven't come across enough data disaggregated by the schools to offer a crystal clear picture) is the following: At top 10 schools and right thereabouts, I've found that students applying ED will be generally very strong. Once you get outside this group, the students applying ED will be applying under the plan looking for "an edge." Why? Because few students will apply ED to a school for which they're a "lock." Most students are applying ED to schools a level or so above where they would usually get in. To simplify, students who're looking at Carnegie Mellon as a target would be inclined to apply to, say, Washington U. ED. This being the case, the CMU ED class (in my opinion) will often be slightly weaker than the RD pool; students are using this opportunity to shoot a bit higher. However, one can't make the same argument for the ED pool at, say, Columbia or Penn. There are almost no students applying to these schools that feel "comfortable" with their chances for admission to the schools. So (again in my opinion), the ED pools (and the REA pools, for that matter) of the blue chip schools are rarely depleted by an "applicant flight" to more competitive institutions. There just aren't more competitive schools out there! In a nutshell, then, I suggest this: Identify a level or so above where you would normally get in. Ensure you've taken the tests in time for the 11/1 or 11/15 deadline. Ensure that your six-semester transcript is solid. If these tasks have been done, use ED to leverage your chances.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early action or early decision?

Odds definitely increase in your favor when applying early. The pool of applicants is smaller, so you stand a better chance of making an impression before the office in innundated with applications.