The college admissions process is both exciting and anxiety-ridden due to all the decisions you are making for your future. One such problem is choosing whether to apply during the regular decision, early action, or early decision round. Each round has its own set of benefits and considerations. While the decision ultimately depends on individual circumstances, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each round.

Regular Decision (RD):

Regular decision is the most common application round with deadlines generally between late December and early January. This gives you plenty of time to gather admission material, boost your test scores, and prepare applications. Since every college has an RD round, it gives you access to a broader range of universities and allows you to compare various financial aid offers to choose the best fit.

However, acceptance rates for RD are significantly lower than those for EA or ED. You will also be competing in a larger applicant pool. Additionally, since the results are announced only around March, applying RD can add to your senior year stress.

Early Decision (ED):

Early Decision is an honor-bound agreement between you and the university stipulating that if accepted, you must commit to the university and withdraw all other applications. While this may sound intimidating, if you’re sure about a particular college, it makes sense to let the university know that they are your first choice. The main benefit of applying ED is that the acceptance rates are substantially higher than RD acceptance rates. Thus, ED gives you a better shot at your dream university.

However, it is important to note that you can only apply ED to one University. This eliminates the possibility of comparing financial aid offers, which might be an important consideration for some. Additionally, since ED deadlines typically fall around November 1, this leaves you with less time to prepare your transcripts, boost your grades, write those essays, and collect letters of recommendation.

Early Action (EA):

Early Action is similar to ED; it allows you to send in your applications much earlier, usually by November 1st. This lets you demonstrate a strong interest in your chosen colleges. EA also tends to have a higher acceptance rate than RD however, unlike ED, you can apply EA to multiple universities and acceptance does not imply a binding agreement. Thus EA offers a lot more flexibility as compared to ED. EA allows students to compare multiple financial aid offers and is a better option if you are not sure of which college you’d like to join.

However, like ED, you will have to have your college application ready at the beginning of your senior year. In addition to this, while EA might seem like the best of both worlds, not all colleges offer it so there is a chance that the universities you are targeting may not have this option available.

In conclusion, it is important to weigh each round based on your ambitions, capabilities, the strength of your applications, and financial considerations. You must also research each college’s policies regarding each round to make an informed decision since they might have specific deadlines, restrictions, or benefits for each round. Thus, while we encourage applying in the Early Action round, the choice ultimately depends on your unique circumstances. Make sure to carefully consider your options, and book a session with a counselor if you need help.


If this article answers your queries, check our website – For assistance related to Undergraduate College Applications and Admissions, please book an appointment with Ms Urvashi Malik, Founder – CollegeCoreEducation.