There’s a lot of application jargon and technical understanding of terms involved with applying to Colleges. Colleges sometimes throw terms at your on their website, when perhaps they shouldn’t be taking for granted that you do already know that they mean. We’ve decided to help you out a bit with some of them. Here’s a list of a few terms that you are likely to encounter once you start the application process.

  • Early Decision (ED): This choice is for students who have identified a college as a definite first choice. Early decision is binding, meaning if you apply to a school ED, you are committing to enrolling upon admission and must withdraw all other applications. Students who apply ED usually get their admissions decision in mid-December. Because it is binding, you can only apply to one school ED. Binding means that you apply to a school ED, and you get accepted, you will have to enroll. There is a signed contract on the part of most universities in the U.S, where most schools won’t allow you to enroll if you fall to abide by the ED contract. So be very, very sure.

  • ED I and ED II: Some schools have two ED deadlines, one in November and a second in December, closer to the Regular Decision deadline.  ED I is exactly the same as the above. ED II is for students who are committed to applying ED to their top-choice school, but aren’t necessarily ready for the early November deadline. Again these are binding. Apply for EDII under two circumstances:

    1) You’re not ready to submit your SAT scores just yet. Or your GPA in Grade 11 feel short, and you want your improvement in Grade 12 to be reflected in your application,

    2) You’re applying ED elsewhere.  If you get rejected by your top choice, then you can apply ED II to your second choice.

  • Early Action (EA): This is similar to ED except you are not required to attend if admitted, therefore it is nonbinding. You can apply to many schools EA, and will receive your admission decision in December, same as ED. The applicant pool is smaller than your regular decision applicant, so you may increase our chances of admission substantially.

 

  • Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA): Also known as restrictive early action, this option is also nonbinding, however you cannot apply other schools EA or ED until you receive your decision from the school to which you applied SCEA. In restrictive early action policies, however, you can still apply to public or state universities EA.

 

What are the advantages?

  • Better admission rates. As mentioned before, when you apply early, you’re applying with a smaller applicant pool, thus naturally increasing the likelihood of an acceptance letter.
  • Knowing your admissions decision sooner. Those who apply early usually get their admissions decisions back by mid-to-late December.  That leaves you with many more months of rest, relaxation, recuperation, and preparing to leave the country and settle abroad.
  • Demonstrating your interest. Universities are looking for applicants who are most likely to succeed as well as those who are most like to enroll at the university. The mettle of a university depends on how many of it’s admits eventually enroll at the university. Therein, by applying ED to a school, you are readily conceding that you are accepted, you will enroll. This is especially true in the binding admission decisions.

 

It follows then that if you can be prepared with your essays, your tests scores and school grades, and are sure of a particular university, you should be applying Early. If, on the other hand, you are either unsure of your top choice, or are not prepared with your school examination and test results, we recommend that you go old school with the Regular Decision.

We’ve compiled a list of university application deadlines under each program. This is merely to assist you in understanding how and when most admissions processes take place. These are representative, and should not be used as any more than mere guidelines. Refer to the schools website for final dates.

 

University

ED I

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD

Date

Harvey Mudd

Nov 15th,
Decisions – Dec 15th

Jan 1st,
Decisions – Feb 15th

Jan 1st,
Decisions – April 1st.

ED I
Nov 15th,
Decisions – Dec 15th.

ED II
Jan 1st,
Decisions – Feb 15th.

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 1st,
Decisions – April 1st.

University of California

Nov 30th, Decisions – March End.

ED I

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Nov 30th,
Decisions – March End.

UPenn

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Dec.

Jan 1st, Decisions – March

ED I
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Dec.

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 1st,
Decisions – March.

Stanford

Nov 1st, Decisions – Dec 15th

Dec 1st,
Decisions – April 1st.

ED I

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action
Nov 1st, Decisions – Dec 15th

RD
Jan 1st,
Decisions – April 1st.

Cornell

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

Jan 2nd,
Decisions – Early April

ED I
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 2nd,
Decisions – Early April.

Harvard

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Early Dec.

Jan 1st, Decisions – Late March

ED I

ED II

EA
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Early Dec.

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 1st,
Decisions – Late March.

Brown

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

Jan 1st,
Decisions – End March/ Early April

ED I
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Early Dec.

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 1st,
Decisions – End March/ Early April.

MIT

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

Jan 1st, Decisions – Mid March.

ED I

ED II

EA
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 1st,
Decisions – Mid March.

Caltech

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

Jan 3rd, Decisions – Mid March.

ED I

ED II

EA
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 3rd,
Decisions – Mid March.

Carnegie Mellon University

Nov 1st

Dec 1st

ED I
Nov 1st

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Dec 1st

Rice

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

Jan 1st,
Decision – Apr 1st.

ED I
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 1st,
Decision – Apr 1st

Columbia

Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

Jan 1st,
Decision – End Mar.

ED I
Nov 1st,
Decisions – Mid Dec.

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 1st,
Decision – End Mar

Yale

Nov 1st

Jan 1st

ED I

ED II

EA

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action
Nov 1st

RD
Jan 1st

Georgia Tech

Oct 15th

Jan 10th

ED I

ED II

EA
Oct 15th

SCEA or Restrictive Early Action

RD
Jan 10th

Note for Parents, Students, Counsellors: The information above was to the best of our knowledge at the time that this article was published. With every application cycle, or sometimes even during it, Colleges and Universities may change dates, policies, available majors and other relevant information. These updates will be reflected on the College and University websites themselves.

Please refer to the official college websites in addition to reading these articles. These articles are written only to provide general guidelines to students, not as a substitute for individual college websites.