EA/ED: What’s the Difference?

By Olivia Scaglione

Byram Hills seniors along with seniors from all around the world are currently applying to colleges. While there are several options when applying for colleges, there are two that require applications to be complete by early November. One is early decision, meaning that if a student is accepted, the student is “bound” to or must attend that particular school. The other option is early action, in which a student who is accepted is not required to attend the school upon admission. The students who apply early decision will likely hear back in December and the students applying early action will hear back anytime between December and February. Some schools, that are early action and “rolling” hear back as early as September! Regular decision applications can be submitted anytime between November and February, depending if the school has rolling admissions or not. Students who apply regular decision will hear back in early spring.

You may be asking why would anyone want to apply early decision or early action to a school when the deadline for applications is so early? The answer is that many students apply early to “reach” schools, or schools that might be more difficult for them to get in to, because it shows the school that it is your first choice. Additionally, some schools have an early decision advantage, meaning that their ED acceptance rate is higher than their RD acceptance rate. Also, if a student has their mind set on a particular college, hearing if you get accepted earlier can ease one’s anxiety and make the grueling decision less difficult for students and their families. Students can only apply early decision to one school, but can typically apply early action to multiple schools.

At the same time, there a several drawbacks of applying early decision and early action. For example, students who are applying early decision will not be able to compare financial aid given to them by other colleges in the event that they are admitted to this early decision school. Additionally, ED or EA might not be a good fit if students are looking to boost their scores in standardized testing during the fall of their senior year. For EA and ED schools, test scores are due by the November deadline. Therefore, if students are looking to retake these exams during this time, they will not have their scores before the EA/ED deadlines.  

EA and ED applications were due at the beginning of November and seniors have been overwhelmed with applications, extracurricular activities, and schoolwork. Senior Evia Mascaro, who applied early action to several schools, explains how “these past few weeks have been very stressful.” Evia also added that it seemed like the deadline date approached very quickly. Senior Hannah Holden, who is applying early decision to her top school, also explained that there is a great emphasis on getting into her early decision school because it is her number one choice.

Evidently, there are both benefits and disadvantages to applying EA and/or ED. Whether one chooses to apply ED, EA, or regular decision, students must realize that whatever is meant to be will happen and that it is important not stress too much about the future!

Good luck to all our Byram Hills seniors who are going through the application process and remember, EVERYTHING will work out in the end!