I get the question many times from my students and parents, “Is it better to apply early action to a school?” My simple answer: Yes, it is! Why? Because as the saying goes, the early bird has the best opportunity to get the worm.
There are a variety of ways to apply to a school (Read our blog about the variety of options you have to apply to a school). You can apply Early Action, which means you apply early and then you will hear your admissions decision early. You can also apply Early Decision, which means you apply early and hear early, but it is a binding action where if you get accepted you have to attend this school. You also can apply Regular Decision which means that you apply by their regular decision deadline and you will hear no later than April 1st of your senior year. And then there is Rolling Admission, which means that as you submit your application, and all of your supporting materials, the school will review your application package and provide a decision within a short period of time. Not every school offers every type of application option.
Why You Should Apply Early Action When Possible
Now that we have explained the various ways you can apply to any one college (and remember, not all schools offer all options), let’s get to the question about whether it is better to apply Early Action. I always say that the early bird has the best opportunity to get the worm and this is true when applying early action as well. Remember, we live in a digital age and when you submit your application it is date and time stamped. Even if all of your supporting materials aren’t in (e.g., official transcript, test scores, letters of recommendation) the college knows that you put in the effort to send in your application well before any deadline. This can indicate to them that you are very interested in their school, as well as that you are a highly diligent student who gets things done and doesn’t wait until the last minute to get their work in. All great qualities to have.
Also, keep in mind that for those students that don’t apply early and wait until the last minute to submit their applications, it could very well be that at that time there are only a few spots left to admit students. There are a finite number of students a school will accept and these admissions counselors have been reading applications for many months prior to the actual application deadline. I can assure you, you don’t want to be the student who sends in their application close to the deadline after the admissions counselors have read thousands of applications – and trust us, they read thousands!
Even if a school doesn’t have an Early Action option, just submitting your application early can benefit you. It shows diligence and interest in that school.
So, when you ask yourself, is it better to apply early action when possible, the answer is yes, and even if it won’t make a difference in your outcome (which you will never know the reasoning behind their admissions decision), you will have your college admissions work behind you, shown yourself and the schools that you are a diligent student, and will have no regrets in the end. Don’t ever be left wondering that if you had applied early would it have made a difference. Apply early, whether it be officially Early Action or not, submit that application earlier rather than later. And remember, there is no limit on how many Early Action applications you can submit. So take advantage of the opportunity!
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