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Articles / Applying to College / Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Dec. 22, 2021

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Can I Reapply If I'm Rejected Early?

Question: If I apply to a college through Early Decision or Early Action, but I am not accepted, can I apply again through Regular Decision?

If you are denied outright ("rejected") in the Early Decision or Early Action round, then you CANNOT reapply. In most cases, if a college thinks that you are at least a borderline candidate but they aren't willing to commit to you during the Early Action or Early Decision process, they will "defer" you and then reevaluate your credentials with the Regular Decision pool. (I said, "In most cases" because there are a handful of colleges, such as New York University, that do not ever defer Early applicants ... they only admit or deny them.)

If you are deferred via ED or EA, you do not have to reapply. The college will automatically consider you along with the Regular Decision candidates. However, you would be wise to stay in touch with admission officials after a deferral by sending an update letter that highlights your accomplishments since you initially submitted your application.

Although a denial in the Early round is disappointing, the silver lining to this cloud is that it can help you to reset your sights while there is still time and to position yourself to get good news in the spring from a college you're truly excited about.

A version of this Ask the Dean article originally appeared in 2021

Applying Early?

Visit the CC Early Admissions and Decision Hub to learn more about early admissions, see upcoming deadlines, and connect with other applicants to share stats, tips, and results.

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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