ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled Saved to Favorites.
Articles / Applying to College / Why Can Students Apply Early Action & Early Decision Concurrently?

Nov. 18, 2015

Why Can Students Apply Early Action & Early Decision Concurrently?

Question: So why do schools let kids who are applying Early Decision elsewhere apply Early Action?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to disqualify EA applications while an ED application is pending?  Or is it more important to spread out the workload by encouraging early submissions than to reduce the workload by making sure that the applicants aren’t already committed elsewhere?

There are a handful of colleges … mostly hyper-selective ones … that prohibit Early Action candidates from applying Early Decision elsewhere (and a few of these prohibit candidates from applying Early ANYTHING elsewhere). High schools, however, never impose such restrictions. These come from the colleges themselves.

As a college counselor and also as a parent, I don’t have any problem with a policy that allows students to mix Early Action applications with an Early Decision bid, as long as the student understands that–if admitted to the ED school–he or she MUST attend (barring financial aid inadequacies, of course).


This is a particularly helpful approach when a student is aiming for a “Reach” college in the ED round. I think it’s a big stress-reducer when students who are denied or deferred ED get good news from an EA (or Rolling Admissions) institution at about the same time. And allowing the ED kids to pursue EA options also means that they already will have completed some other applications when the ED verdict rolls in. It’s bad enough to get turned away from a first-choice college in December, but it sucks exponentially more to get shut out via ED and then to have to spend the holiday break writing a dozen essays!

There is so much to hate about the admission process that I could go on and on for hours (well, more like days … or weeks!), but concurrent ED/EA is not on my Most Heinous list. Although one could argue that an EA applicant who is accepted ED elsewhere has taken a spot at the EA college from a student who really wants it, you could make that same argument about any student who applies to any college that is not a top choice. So, if I ruled the world (or at least the admissions world), I would limit the number of colleges that each student could apply to (eight is the figure I have in mind). This would spur students to make more thoughtful college rosters and would bring down acceptance rates because there would be fewer students saying “No thanks” to admission offers. But, in the meantime, if students want to apply to multiple EA colleges and then throw an ED school into the mix as well, I have no complaints. There are too many OTHER issues to whine about!

 

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.

More on Applying to College

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

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

38547127311_5463cc8dd3_w.jpg

How To Get Into UPenn 2021-2022

There's no doubt that the University of Pennsylvania is extremely difficult to get into. In 2021, the ivy league school in P…

Early Decision or Early Action?

Early Decision or Early Action?

Question: Why should I consider an Early Decision or Early Action college application? What's the difference?

Your level of d…

Can I Apply Early Twice?

Can I Apply Early Twice?

Question: I am planning on applying early decision to my first-choice college. I will be notified of my status by December 31st. …

Advantages of EARLY Early-Decision Application?

Advantages of EARLY Early-Decision Application?

Question: I'm applying Early Decision to an Ivy League school. Is there any advantage for me to send in the application mate…

A-Z College Forums

Browse the College Forums
C1E9D4E7-C4C9-4B28-8946-8F441A6D62B3

Find Your Best Fit

Find your best fit college and track your favorite colleges.