College Early Admissions Program Analysis – Early Action

Some colleges have a non-binding early admittance program, called early action.  Early action allows the student to receive an admission decision early in the admission cycle without the binding commitment of the early decision application.  A decision in February will reduce the stress of waiting for an April regular admission decision.  Early action is ideal for students who are seriously considering a particular university, but would like to keep their options open and receive admission decisions from other schools.

Please note that some of the more elite schools adopting a specific type of early action program called single-choice early action.  Single-choice early action restricts applicants from applying early action to specific private universities, but allows the student to apply to certain public universities through either early action or regular decision.  This option allows the student to compare financial obligations from several universities and gives the student greater bargaining power.Below we listed out the benefits of applying for Early Action. The drawbacks of Early Action applications are similar to those of Early Decision ones.

Benefits of Applying for Early Action:

1) Receive admission status in the beginning of February.  Regular decision applicants find out their college’s decision around April 1st.
2) Flexibility to apply to additional schools even once accepted.
3) Save the time and expense the student would have ended up spending applying to multiple regular decision schools.

4) Allows the student to compare offers from various programs and make a more optimal decision.

Ivy League College Early Admissions Program Comparison

Out of the eight, five Ivy League schools (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, UPenn) all have a binding, early decision program.  Harvard, Princeton, and Yale University are unique in that they offer prospective students the opportunity to apply to their respective universities through a program called single-choice early action. As part of these three schools’ single-choice early action program, a student may not apply to an early program at any other private college or university, but may apply early to any public university as long as the decision is nonbinding.  Harvard University had this program for several years, discontinued it, but has recently brought it back as an option for prospective students. Please note that the following data is for demonstrative purposes only.

Ivy League Institution Early Decision Application Deadline Early Action Deadline Regular Decision Application Deadline Early Admissions Applications Early Admissions Acceptances Early Decision Acceptance Rate Regular Decision Applications Regular Decision Acceptance Regular Decision Acceptance Rate
Brown University November 1 NA January 2 2,803 572 20.4% 30,944 2,757 8.9%
Columbia University November 1 NA January 1 3,274 629 19.2% 34,810 2,418 6.9%
Cornell University November 1 NA January 2 3,479 1,227 35.3% 36,387 6,538 18.0%
Dartmouth College November 1 NA January 1 1,801 465 25.8% 21,309 1,797 8.4%
Harvard University NA November 1 January 1 4,245 700 16.5% 34,950 2,188 6.3%
Princeton University NA November 1 January 1 3,547 726 20.5% 27,189 2,300 8.5%
University of Pennsylvania November 1 NA January 1 4,527 1,146 25.3% 26,691 2,789 10.4%
Yale University NA November 1 January 1 5,257 761 14.5% 27,283 2,109 7.7%

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