The term early action refers to an admissions process that allows students to submit an application to a college or university by November 1 instead of the general admission deadline of January 1. When a student applies for early action (EA), they are notified of the school's admission decision by mid-December instead of the April 1 timeframe.
If a college or university supports an early action program, students applying for admission to that institution will be notified by mid-December whether or not they've been accepted for enrollment. These programs effectively accelerate the college application deadline to November 1 (from January 1), and the admission notification timeframe to mid-December (from April 1).
Generally, colleges and universities may support one of two types of early action programs:
Unlike early decision programs, early action is not binding and the student is able to reject all offers of admission. This statement applies to both non-restrictive as well as restrictive early action programs. In addition, students that are accepted in mid-December do not have to commit to a decision until the normal deadline of May 1.
Early action programs remove the stress associated with the college admissions process, allowing the student to start their planning process sooner. The disadvantage of these programs is the competition; the credentials of the candidates applying for early action are stronger.
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