What is the difference between Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision, and Rolling Admission?
Early Decision is the admission program which is contractual in nature. Students sign an agreement and commit in advance to attend the Early Decision college if admitted under its early program. At many colleges, the deadline for receipt of the application is November 15. The student is then notified (Accept, Deny, Defer) six weeks after the deadline. If accepted under an Early Decision Plan, the student must withdraw all applications at other colleges. When applying for Early Decision, you are saying that this is where you definitely want to attend. You know that this is your first and only choice.
Early Action is an option on the same timeline as Early Decision. However, Early Action is not a binding agreement. Admitted students are not obligated to enroll. Students simply know their status before Regular Decision students.
Not all colleges have Early Decision and Early Action.
Regular Decision is the traditional process of applying to college. Students apply by the regular and final deadline and the college responds with a decision by a specified date. Regular Action is beneficial for those students whose candidacies will be strengthened by senior year activities and improved academic performance in the final two semesters. It allows more time to complete multiple applications and also allows more time for the student’s counselor to provide assistance and guidance.
Rolling Admission describes the application process in which a college reviews applications as they are received and offers a non-binding decision to the student – usually within two to five weeks of being reviewed. Students are not required to make a commitment until May 1 but are encouraged to do so as soon as a final decision is made.