Early Action vs. Early Decision: students choose how to apply

Justin Fishman, Senior News Editor

Think about every paper you’ve ever written, every speech you’ve ever given, and every homework assignment you’ve ever completed in your high school years. Every assignment, little or big, that has caused even the smallest amount of stress contributes to determining where students will end up after high school.

All of the anxiety that students have built up over the years ends up with either a letter of acceptance, a denial, or a deferral. While finding out decisions from colleges can be an exciting time of the year for some, it can cause anxiety for others.

Students can apply to schools through early decision, early action or regular decision. Each students is limited to applying to one school ED (early decision) because if they get accepted to that school, they must attend that school, forcing them to withdraw all other applications. Students who apply to college using early decision are those who are set on one college above all others.

Usually students will find out their admission decision by December if they apply ED. It is still allowed for students to apply to other colleges if they apply ED just in case they don’t get into their first choice. However, not all students apply ED because it is binding you to one college if you get in.
Students such as senior Hunter Band don’t like applying early decision because they prefer keeping their options open. “I don’t really have a dream school that I like more than any other so I didn’t apply ED anywhere because I am still not entirely sure of where I want to go to college next year,” Band said.

Unlike early decision applicants, students who apply to schools using EA (early action) are not bound to a college if they get in. You can apply to as many schools as you wish using early action and still get the advantage of getting to hear admissions decisions before the regular deadline. Not all schools offer early action but the majority of them do have that option. Although some schools let students know their decisions sooner, most schools that offer early action will get back to students with their decisions by January or February. Students must make the decision of which school to attend by May 1. “I applied early action to most of my schools so I could find out whether or not I got in earlier. I definitely recommend applying early action because it is smart to finish applications as quick as possible, which leads to less stressing out and anxiety,” senior Morgan Siegel said.

Each year of high school brings about different challenges with corresponding levels of stress. For seniors, the most common stressor is college applications. In addition to college apps, seniors still have full workloads to stay on top of and possibly even standardized tests they still need to take.

If you are becoming too stressed about college, just remember that every year students think there is no way they will get their applications in on time, yet do so anyway. Just make sure to stay on top of your school work and begin applications as early as possible so you can look them over extensively and prevent potential errors. Most important of all, don’t let applications stress you out more than they should because no matter where life takes you next it will be great.