College Counseling

Applying Early

Many students like the idea of applying early. Applying early may be a good idea for some students, but is not recommended for all. Students are encouraged to discuss their options and interests with their counselor and family. Below is a description of some of the most common terms used to describe the various ways of applying early.

List of 3 items.

  • Early Decision (ED):

    A number of schools offer an admission plan for students who are certain of their college choice during the first semester of their senior year. Students who apply under an ED plan must sign an agreement (as do their college counselor) that states that the student will attend the institution if admitted. Additionally, students who are admitted under and ED plan are required to withdraw any outstanding applications once they have been admitted. A student may only apply to one school ED, as it is a serious and binding agreement. The deadline for most ED plans hovers around November 1, with notification arriving from many institutions in mid-December. Students may be admitted, denied, or held over to the Regular Application pool as a result of an ED application.

    Given the nature of this binding agreement, Holy Innocents’ recommends ED only for students who are certain of their top choice. Additionally, the HIES Counselors only recommend ED for a school that has been thoroughly visited (i.e.: overnight stay, classroom visit, etc.). Just like one would not buy a car or a home without first visiting it, we would never recommend a student enter into a binding agreement without first visiting the campus and thoroughly researching its offerings. Because of the early deadlines for ED, students who apply under this plan are reviewed primarily on the basis of their grades through the end of junior year. Consequently, ED is recommended for students with very strong academic records.

    Examples of schools with ED plans:
    University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University, Emory University
  • Early Action (EA):

    Early Action has similar deadlines to the Early Decision plan described above. Yet there is one major difference: Early Action plans are non-binding, meaning that students have until May 1, the National Candidate’s Reply Date to accept a spot at an EA institution. Students may still apply to other schools even after being accepted under an EA plan. Similar to ED, Early Action reviews students primarily on their record through the end of junior year. As such, students with strong academic often make up the majority of an Early Action applicant pool.

    Examples of schools with EA plans:
    University of Georgia, Boston College, University of Miami
  • Early Action - Single Choice (EA-SC):

    A relatively new version of the traditional Early Action plan, Early Action - Single Choice often places restrictions on applicants whereby they are not allowed to apply to any other college’s Early Action or Early Decision plans.

    Examples of schools with EA-SC plans:
    Stanford University, Yale University
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Holy Innocents’ is the largest Episcopal parish day school in the United States, a fully accredited, college-preparatory day school for 3-year-olds through 12th-grade boys and girls.