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Early Action, or EA, has become a popular program among colleges in the United States. This admissions program allows students to apply to colleges and hear back from them early, but leaves them the option to apply elsewhere during the normal admissions timeline, compare options, and make a more informed decision about where to attend.

 

While not everyone chooses to apply somewhere under an early application program, there are notable benefits to making use of this timeline, from the potential security of knowing you’re already admitted to a college early in the process, to improved chances of acceptance at certain schools. It’s an option that’s well worth considering as you’re planning your approach to college applications.

 

Keeping track of deadlines during college application season can already be a challenge, and the EA process complicates your calendar further. Never fear! In this post, we’ve compiled a list of application deadlines for colleges with EA programs, as well as some helpful tips and background information to help you navigate the EA process. 

 

 

Early Action: A Refresher

The “normal” timeline for college admissions involves submitting your college applications in the fall of your senior year of high school, hearing back from colleges in late March or early April, and having to make a decision about where to attend by May 1st. This timeline is known as the Regular Decision (RD) timeline.

 

However, you’ll also find variations on this typical timeline. In addition to the RD process, many colleges now also offer some kind of early application process, though which applicants can submit applications, have them assessed, and receive an admission decision much earlier.

 

If you apply under the early application option at a college, you’ll submit your application early, during the fall of your senior year of high school. Your application will be considered early, and you’ll receive a decision early, sometimes before your spring semester even starts. While you may be “deferred,” meaning that your application is pushed back to the RD round for further consideration before a decision is made, you may also be actually accepted or rejected at this point.

 

Early application programs come in two major types: Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA). There are a few other types of early application programs that you might encounter, and a given college may offer a variety of different application plans.

 

Some colleges offer rolling admissions, in which applications are evaluated and decisions are made as they’re received, rather than waiting for a standard application deadline and notification date. Some colleges offer a second, later round of ED, known as ED II. Special programs, such as Questbridge or special scholar programs, may have early application dates as well. However, ED and EA are the main options you’ll have to make choices about. 

 

ED programs generally have strict rules; they’re single-choice, meaning that you can’t apply to any other schools early, and they’re binding, meaning that if you’re accepted, you’re contractually obligated to attend. EA programs are more flexible, and give students more freedom to delay a final decision and compare different admissions offers.

 

The defining feature of EA programs is that they’re not binding—if accepted, you still get to choose whether to attend that college, and you usually don’t have to make a decision right away. You can even apply to other colleges during the regular admissions round and wait for them to make admissions decisions before you make your final college choice.

 

Some EA programs are also not single-choice, meaning that they don’t ask you to refrain from applying to any other colleges early. However, some EA programs do have this restriction. This approach is known as Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA), or alternatively, Restricted Early Action (REA). If you apply to an SCEA program, you’re not allowed to apply to any other colleges under EA or ED programs.

 

The most popular due dates for EA applications are in November, either on November 1st or November 15th, or around December 1st. Top-tier, highly competitive schools are particularly likely to use one of these dates. However, plenty of colleges have earlier or later deadlines, so it’s essential to look up the dates for your particular school. We’ll give a full list of deadlines for EA schools at the end of this post.

 

Applying EA spreads out your application workload, demonstrates your strong interest in the college, and may improve your chances of being admitted at certain schools. If you’re accepted in the EA round, you get to celebrate and enjoy the security of already having one college option secured—and since EA isn’t binding, you can still consider offers from other colleges.

 

For more detailed information about EA and how to prepare for an EA application, visit these posts from the CollegeVine blog:

 

 

 

 

Tips for Early Action Applicants

If you’re interested in applying EA, it’s important to understand what the process entails, when your deadlines will be, and how the EA experience differs from the regular admissions process. As we’ve mentioned above, you can find tons of posts on the CollegeVine blog that cover every aspect of applying EA. Here are a few additional tips to get you started.

 

Tip #1: Remember, earlier application deadlines also mean that your standardized test scores, recommendations, and all other application components will need to be ready earlier, so be prepared. You’ll also have less time to bring up your GPA and rack up accomplishments. If you need a little more time to build a strong applicant profile, EA and other early application programs may not be for you.

 

Tip #2: Don’t stake your college prospects on one EA school; the admissions process is complex and unpredictable, and you may not be accepted. Always plan and prepare to apply to additional colleges besides your EA school, no matter how strong an applicant you are.

 

Tip #3: Take advantage of the opportunity EA gives you to compare different admissions offers. Even if you feel sure that your EA school is your first choice, it’s very common for students to change their minds, especially when factors like financial aid and admission to specific majors or programs are involved. There’s no downside to waiting to make your decision.

 

Tip #4: If you’re applying SCEA, carefully read and follow the restrictions; you can only apply to one school, even if the others aren’t as restrictive. Colleges sometimes share information about ED and SCEA applicants, and if you get caught breaking the single-choice rule, you may be summarily rejected or have acceptances rescinded by all the colleges involved.

 

 

Early Action Application Deadlines: The Full List

This list is organized chronologically according to application deadline. Under each application due date, you’ll find an alphabetical list of schools that use that due date as their EA application deadline. Alongside the college’s name, we’ve included when that college is expected to respond to EA applicants, if that information is available right now. We’ve also provided links to past CollegeVine blog posts about colleges we’ve discussed before.

 

Keep in mind that these colleges aren’t the only colleges that allow you to apply early. Other schools may also accept early applications under ED, rolling, or other application programs. The schools included here are those that specifically use EA terminology and do not have a rolling admissions process overall.

 

Remember, before you submit an application to any college, visit the college’s undergraduate admissions website and thoroughly read all the application instructions. Application dates and requirements may change later on or be more complicated than shown here. Also, schools may have ED or other early application programs in addition to EA, so when you submit your application, double-check that you’re submitting it within the correct program.

 

Good luck!

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October 15

Georgia Institute of TechnologyJanuary 10
Hanover CollegeDecember 20
LaSalle UniversityDecember 15
Lake Forest CollegeNot available
North Carolina State UniversityJanuary 30
University of GeorgiaDecember 1
University of North Carolina Chapel HillJanuary 30
Westmont CollegeDecember 15

 

 

November 1

Abilene Christian UniversityNovember 15
Assumption CollegeDecember 15
Augustana CollegeDecember 1
Babson CollegeJanuary 1
Bard CollegeJanuary 1
Baylor UniversityJanuary 15
Bellarmine UniversityNovember 15
Berklee College of MusicJanuary 31
Binghampton UniversityJanuary 15
Boston CollegeDecember 25
Butler UniversityDecember 20
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)December 15
California Lutheran UniversityJanuary 15
Case Western Reserve UniversityDecember 15
Catholic University of AmericaDecember 15
Chapman UniversityJanuary 10
Clark UniversityDecember 15
College of CharlestonJanuary 1
Emerson CollegeDecember 15
Emmanuel CollegeDecember 15
Erskine CollegeNovember 15
Fairfield UniversityDecember 20
Fordham UniversityDecember 20
George Fox UniversityDecember 15
Georgetown UniversityDecember 15
Georgia College and State UniversityDecember 1
Green Mountain College (round one)Within 1-2 weeks
Gustavus Adolphus CollegeNovember 15
Hampton UniversityDecember 15
Harvard UniversityMid-December
Howard UniversityDecember 24
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityBetween November 15 and December 15
Kalamazoo CollegeDecember 20
Knox CollegeDecember 31
Lawrence University (round one)December 15
Lewis and Clark CollegeDecember 31
Loyola Marymount UniversityDecember 20
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesDecember 19
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)December 20
Massachusetts Maritime AcademyDecember 31
Morehouse CollegeDecember 15
New York Institute of TechnologyDecember 31
Northeastern UniversityDecember 31
Ohio State UniversityJanuary 15
Oregon State UniversityDecember 20
Pace UniversityJanuary 1
Princeton UniversityDecember 15
Roger Williams UniversityNot available
Saint Michael’s CollegeJanuary 1
Salve Regina UniversityDecember 25
Santa Clara UniversityDecember 23
Simmons CollegeDecember 15
Soka University of AmericaDecember 1
Southern Methodist UniversityDecember 31
Stanford UniversityDecember 15
Stonehill CollegeDecember 31
Susquehanna UniversityDecember 1
Sweet Briar CollegeDecember 14
Temple UniversityJanuary 10
Texas Christian UniversityJanuary 1
Trinity UniversityDecember 15
University of AkronNot available
University of ArkansasDecember 15
University of ChicagoDecember 17
University of DallasJanuary 15
University of DaytonFebruary 15
University of DenverJanuary 15
University of Massachusetts AmherstNot available
University of Massachusetts BostonNot available
University of Massachusetts LowellDecember 15
University of MiamiJanuary 20
University of MichiganDecember 24
University of North Carolina at CharlotteJanuary 20
University of North Carolina at WilmingtonJanuary 20
University of Notre DameDecember 21
University of OregonDecember 15
University of TulsaDecember 15
University of VermontDecember 15
University of VirginiaJanuary 31
Ursinus CollegeAfter February 1
Villanova UniversityDecember 20
Wabash CollegeDecember 19
Wheaton College (Illinois)January 1
Wheaton College (Massachusetts)December 31
Worcester Polytechnic Institute December 15
Yale UniversityDecember 15

 

 

November 2

University of Illinois at ChicagoNot available

 

 

November 7

Lenoir-Rhyne UniversityDecember 21

 

 

November 10

Elon UniversityDecember 20

 

November 14

High Point UniversityDecember 18

 

 

November 15

Agnes Scott CollegeDecember 15
Azusa Pacific UniversityJanuary 15
Becker CollegeDecember 15
Biola UniversityJanuary 15
Birmingham-Southern CollegeDecember 15
Bloomfield CollegeDecember 15
Bridgewater State UniversityDecember 15
Bryant UniversityJanuary 15
College of Mount St. VincentDecember 15
College of St. BenedictDecember 15
College of WoosterDecember 31
Concordia College New YorkDecember 15
DePaul UniversityJanuary 15
Eckerd CollegeDecember 15
Framingham State UniversityDecember 15
Furman UniversityDecember 20
Gonzaga UniversityJanuary 15
Gordon CollegeDecember 1
Hendrix CollegeDecember 15
Hofstra UniversityJanuary 15
Hollins UniversityDecember 1
Lasell CollegeDecember 1
Le Moyne CollegeDecember 15
LIM CollegeDecember 15
Linfield CollegeJanuary 15
Loyola University MarylandJanuary 15
Marist CollegeJanuary 30
Master’s CollegeDecember 22
McDaniel CollegeDecember 22
Menlo CollegeJanuary 15
Merrimack CollegeDecember 15
Mills CollegeDecember 1
Millsaps CollegeJanuary 15
Northwest Nazarene UniversityJanuary 15
Oglethorpe UniversityDecember 20
Point Loma Nazarene UniversityDecember 21
Presbyterian CollegeDecember 15
Purchase CollegeDecember 15
Randolph CollegeDecember 15
Randolph-Macon CollegeJanuary 1
Rhodes CollegeJanuary 15
Rider UniversityDecember 15
Saint Anselm CollegeJanuary 15
Saint John’s College (Maryland)December 15
Saint John’s College (New Mexico)December 15
Saint Joseph’s College of MaineDecember 17
Saint John’s UniversityDecember 15
Saint Joseph’s UniversityDecember 25
Saint Mary’s College of California January 15
School of the Art Institute of ChicagoFebruary 15
Seattle Pacific UniversityJanuary 5
Seton Hall UniversityDecember 30
Shepherd UniversityDecember 15
Southern New Hampshire UniversityDecember 15
Spelman CollegeDecember 31
State University of New York (SUNY) New PaltzDecember 15
SUNY CortlandJanuary 1
SUNY OneontaDecember 15
SUNY Institute of TechnologyDecember 15
Suffolk UniversityDecember 15
Texas Lutheran UniversityTwo weeks after submission
Tulane UniversityDecember 15
University at BuffaloJanuary 15
University of Colorado BoulderFebruary 1
University of Maine FarmingtonJanuary 8
University of Mary WashingtonJanuary 31
University of Massachusetts DartmouthDecember 15
University of New HampshireBetween December 15 and January 31
University of North Carolina at AshevilleDecember 15
University of RedlandsAfter December 15
University of San FranciscoJanuary 1
University of ScrantonDecember 15
University of TampaDecember 15
University of the PacificJanuary 15
Warren Wilson CollegeNot available
Whittier CollegeDecember 31
Willamette UniversityDecember 31
Wofford CollegeNot available
Worcester State UniversityDecember 15

 

 

November 21

College of IdahoDecember 15
Colorado CollegeLate December

 

 

November 30

Maine Maritime AcademyFebruary 1
Whitworth UniversityAfter December 20

 

 

December 1

Adelphi UniversityDecember 31
Austin CollegeJanuary 15
Bennington CollegeJanuary 27
Caldwell UniversityDecember 31
Centre CollegeJanuary 15
Colby-Sawyer CollegeNot available
College of St. RoseDecember 15
Concordia University IrvineDecember 15
Cornell CollegeFebruary 1
Curry CollegeDecember 15
DePauw UniversityNot available
Dickinson CollegeFebruary 1
Duquesne UniversityJanuary 15
Earlham CollegeFebruary 1
Green Mountain College (round two)Within 1-2 weeks
Goucher CollegeFebruary 1
Hampshire CollegeFebruary 1
Hellenic CollegeNot available
Illinois CollegeNot available
Iona CollegeDecember 19
Ithaca CollegeFebruary 1
John Carroll UniversityDecember 20
Kean UniversityJanuary 1
Lawrence University (round two)January 25
Lesley UniversityDecember 23
Longwood UniversityJanuary 15
Manhattanville CollegeDecember 31
Massachusetts College of Art and DesignJanuary 5
Massachusetts College of Liberal ArtsDecember 15
Miami UniversityFebruary 1
Minneapolis College of Art and DesignDecember 15
Molloy CollegeDecember 15
Monmouth UniversityJanuary 15
Montserrat College of ArtDecember 15
Mount St. Mary’s UniversityDecember 25
Notre Dame de Namur UniversityNot available
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityJanuary 15
Old Dominion UniversityJanuary 15
Radford UniversityJanuary 15
Regis CollegeDecember 23
Salisbury UniversityJanuary 15
Sewanee: University of the SouthMid-February
Siena CollegeJanuary 7
Southwestern UniversityFebruary 15
Transylvania UniversityDecember 20
Trinity Washington UniversityJanuary 1
University of CincinnatiNot available
University of EvansvilleNot available
University of KentuckyNot available
University of MaineJanuary 31
University of New EnglandDecember 31
University of Rhode IslandJanuary 31
University of St. ThomasDecember 15
University of UtahJanuary 15
Vanguard University of Southern CaliforniaNot available
Washington CollegeJanuary 15
Wheelock CollegeDecember 20
William Paterson UniversityJanuary 15
Wittenberg UniversityJanuary 1

 

 

December 10

Coe CollegeWithin two weeks of submission

 

 

December 15

Bay Path CollegeJanuary 2
California Baptist UniversityJanuary 31
Centenary College of LouisianaNot available
Greensboro CollegeJanuary 15
Hampden-Sydney CollegeFebruary 15
Sacred Heart UniversityNot available
Sterling CollegeJanuary 15
Thomas CollegeDecember 31
Unity CollegeNot available
University of New HavenJanuary 15
Wells CollegeFebruary 1

 

 

January 15

Washington and Jefferson CollegeNot available

 

Learning More

Did you find a college you’re interested in on this list? Your next step will be to research the requirements of that school’s particular EA program and plan out how you might fit an EA application to that school into your college planning timeline. In addition to resources like the college’s admissions office and your school guidance counselor, you can always come to the CollegeVine blog for more information about every aspect of your applications.

 

Looking for some more personal help with preparing your college applications? Visit the CollegeVine College Application Guidance Program on our website to find out how our experienced consultants can help you navigate this exciting but often stressful process.

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Monikah Schuschu

Monikah Schuschu

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Monikah Schuschu is an alumna of Brown University and Harvard University. As a graduate student, she took a job at the Harvard College Office of Financial Aid and Admissions, and discovered the satisfaction of helping students and parents with the often-baffling college admissions process. She also enjoys fiber art, murder mysteries, and amateur entomology.
Monikah Schuschu