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Articles / Applying to College / Can an Early Decision Candidate Apply Elsewhere Via Early Action?

Can an Early Decision Candidate Apply Elsewhere Via Early Action?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Oct. 27, 2021

Can I Apply Both Early Decision and Early Action?


I am applying Early Decision to Rice. Can I apply Early Action to other colleges?

From the Dean:

College admission regulations can be confusing indeed, especially when it come to early-application options. In most cases, however, early decision candidates are free to apply to other colleges via NON-BINDING admission plans, which include early ACTION. But you're right to be concerned--as well as confused--because not all colleges follow this protocol.

At Rice you CAN apply elsewhere while you await your ED verdict, as long as you're not applying to other Early DECISION schools. You also have to be aware that, if you are admitted ED to Rice as well as to your EA schools, then you are obligated to enroll at Rice. (However, if you are a financial aid applicant, and you are admitted to Rice but do not receive adequate financial aid, then you CAN withdraw from your ED commitment. But, to do so ethically, the Rice aid package must be truly insufficient, and not simply less attractive than you'd hoped--or than what some EA school has offered.)

If you are deferred ED at Rice, then, of course, you are free to apply elsewhere, including under some other college's Early Decision Round 2 option. You are also free to enroll where you wish, even if Rice does eventually admit you.

Hope that helps. Good luck navigating the college maze!

A version of this Ask the Dean previously appeared in 2008.

Applying Early?

Learn more about Early Decision and Early Action and connect with other applicants on College Confidential's Early Admission Central, your source for all things ED and EA.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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