My Study Destination USA

Study in USA: Early Decision, Early Action and Regular Application

If you are planning to study in the US, you must be already aware that the planning has to start quite early.

The objective of writing this post is to explain different application windows that are available for the candidates for making their applications to the U.S. universities. They are as listed below:

Early Decision and Early Action

Are you sure about studying in a particular institution?

If yes, you must know that there are a number of schools and universities in the U.S. that allow you to make an early application. Such early applications are ‘Early Decision’ and ‘Early Action’.

By making an early application, you demonstrate your eagerness and it is this eagerness that can act in your favor. It increases your chances of getting an acceptance from the institution of your choice.  It goes without saying that the acceptance rate when you make a regular application is very low when compared to the early decision and early action applications.

Things You Must Know About Early Decision, Early Action, and Restrictive Early Action Application

  • For Early Decision and Early Action applications, you need to submit your application from mid-November to early January. You get the results from late December to February.
  • The students are allowed to apply to only one college via Early Decision application procedure. The complete research work is, therefore, extremely important and you must know the institution of your interest. If you accept Early Decision, the acceptance is “binding”
  • If you’re looking at more flexible option, “Early Action” is a better plan. It allows you to make applications to more than 1 university at the same time. Also, the acceptance is “non-binding”. That is, the students have the flexibility not to enroll even if they are accepted by the institution.
  • There is another option known as ‘Restrictive Early Action’. By using this, you have an option to apply to only one university and the acceptance is non-binding.


The above-given plans might be divided into different phases: I and II. The only difference is that the two phases have different deadlines.

Is Early Decision and Early Action right for you?

It is recommended to you only if:

  • You are through with your research work and have a specific choice of institutions.
  • Your application is ready along with the essays. Also, you have with you the results of the exams that are required for seeking admission to the U.S. university.
  • The scholarship is not a major concern for you.

Regular Application

When you’re seeking admission to the U.S. university, you’ll find that it is the most common form of making an application.

The deadlines for Regular Application vary from early December to late January from one institution to another. The decisions made through regular applications are non-binding.

Regular Application is recommended to you only if:

  • Scholarship or financial aid holds a lot of significance for you. The Regular Application gives you an option to compare the scholarship that has been offered to you by different institutions.
  • You need more time for your application and you are yet to shortlist the institutions of your interest.
  • You’re expecting a better score in the upcoming semester that can make your application stronger.

Read Also: Housing Tips for International Students in the U.S.

Rolling Applications

There are institutions that offer Rolling Applications. According to this plan, a starting date is set and the institution keeps on filling the places as the applications from qualified candidates keep pouring.

Now even if you’re a very well qualified candidate but if you make a late application; you automatically reduce your chances of getting an acceptance. As a result, you might be denied admission. Therefore, for institutions offering Rolling Application; it is always in your favor to make an early application. Even more, the decisions for Rolling Applications are non-binding.

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