Decoding Admissions: Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision Explained

Early Decision

Early Decision (ED) applications are usually due in the fall of the academic year before planned enrollment. The distinctive characteristic of Early Decision is its binding nature. If a student applies to a school through Early Decision and is accepted, they are expected to enroll in that school and withdraw all other applications. Early Decision can demonstrate to a school that it is your child’s top choice. However, it should only be used when you’re certain that the school is the best fit for your child.

 Early Action

Early Action (EA) also involves an earlier application deadline, often similar to that of Early Decision. However, unlike Early Decision, Early Action is not binding. If your child is accepted through an Early Action application, they are not obligated to attend that school and can wait until the regular decision response date to finalize their choice. Early Action can be a great way to apply to schools your child is interested in without the binding commitment.

 Regular Decision

Regular Decision applications have a later deadline, usually in the winter. Acceptance decisions are typically released in the spring. Regular Decision does not require a commitment to a particular school until you have received all admission decisions. This process allows you more time to compare schools, financial aid options, and make a thoroughly considered decision.

Understanding the differences between these types of applications can greatly inform your application strategy. If you’re sure about a particular school being the best fit for your child, Early Decision might be a good choice. If you’re interested in securing a spot early but want to keep your options open, Early Action could be beneficial. Regular Decision provides more time for making the final enrollment decision.

In summary:

• Early Decision is a binding application process with an earlier deadline and should only be used if you’re certain the school is the best fit.

• Early Action also has an earlier deadline but is non•binding, allowing you to secure a spot early without committing.

• Regular Decision has a later deadline, offering more time to compare schools and financial aid options before making a decision.

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