By UnigoStaff As a high school senior, applying to college can be a daunting task. However, there are some great advantages to getting an early start, and applying through Early Action or Early Decision is one of them. Approximately 450 colleges and universities in the United States offer students the opportunity to apply through either of these admission processes, which can provide several benefits such as early notification of acceptance and reduced stress during the regular application season. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between Early Action and Early Decision and help you determine whether they are right for you. Early Action Early Action is a non-binding admission process that allows students to apply to a college or university by submitting their application earlier than the regular deadline. Typically, Early Action application deadlines fall in October or November, and students can receive their admissions decision between December and February. Unlike Early Decision, students who apply through Early Action can still apply to other colleges through either Regular Decision or Early Action. If accepted, students have until the national deadline of May 1st to decide whether to attend the college. Early Action is a popular choice for students who want to get a head start on the college application process without committing to a particular college or university. Early Decision Early Decision is a binding admission process that requires students to apply to only one college or university. The application deadlines for Early Decision are typically in November 1 or November 15, and students can receive their admissions decision before January. If accepted, students are required to withdraw all other college applications and commit to attending the college. Unlike Early Action, Early Decision is a more restrictive option, and students who apply through this process cannot apply to other colleges through Early Decision or Early Action, but can still apply through Regular Decision. Early Decision is a popular choice for students who have a clear first-choice college or university and are willing to commit to attending it. Benefits of Early Action and Early Decision One of the most significant advantages of applying through Early Action or Early Decision is that students can receive their admissions decision much earlier than those who apply through the regular admission process. This early notification can reduce stress and uncertainty for students and parents alike, allowing them to plan for the future with more confidence. Additionally, applying through Early Action or Early Decision may increase your chances of being accepted, as colleges and universities tend to have higher acceptance rates for these processes. Applying early increases your chances of acceptance. For example, Harvard University had an acceptance rate of 13.4 percent for students who applied through Single-Choice Early Action, compared to only 2.8 percent of those who applied through the regular admissions process. However, it’s important to note that Early Decision is a binding process, and if you are accepted, you are committed to attending the college or university, even if it is not your first choice or if the financial aid package is not sufficient to cover your expenses. Considerations for Early Action and Early Decision Before you decide whether to apply through Early Action or Early Decision, it’s essential to review the specific requirements and understand the obligations associated with each process. Here are some things to consider: Can you meet the GPA and test score requirements for admissions? Are you sure of where you would like to attend college? Do you have the necessary resources to pay your college tuition and fees? Have you researched the financial aid packages offered by the colleges or universities? Are you comfortable committing to a college or university before knowing your financial aid package or before exploring other options? Final Thoughts Early Action and Early Decision can be great options for students who want to get a head start on the college application process or who have a clear first-choice college. However, it’s important to carefully consider the specific requirements and obligations associated with each option, as well as the potential financial implications. Make sure to do your research, consult with your guidance counselor and family, and weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. With the right preparation and approach, applying early can be a great way to increase your chances of getting accepted to your dream college.