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Early Action Deadlines For Colleges

When you start looking at application requirements for different colleges and universities, you will notice that many of them have both early action and regular decision deadlines.

As the name suggests, early action deadlines are always sooner than regular decision deadlines, which can make some students question when to submit their applications to have the best chance of admission.

While most of these colleges acknowledge that submitting your application before the early action deadline will not improve your chances of admission, there are still some distinct advantages to applying early.

This guide will explain the ins and outs of early action and some reasons why you might consider applying to college before the regular decision window.

What is early action?

If you apply early action, it simply means that you are submitting your application earlier than the regular deadline.

Typically, schools that offer early action will have early action deadlines in early to mid-November and regular decision deadlines in early January.

Because early action applicants submit their applications for review earlier, they also receive their decisions earlier. Instead of waiting until March or April to see if they are admitted, they will see their admission status in December or early January.

Applying early action is not the same thing as applying early decision. You are not bound to attend that university if you are accepted, you are just able to find out if you have been accepted earlier than other applicants.

Advantages of applying early action

Although applying early action in no way guarantees admission, there are a few key advantages to submitting your applications during this early window of time:

Less competition

When you apply early action, you will likely receive your admission decision from a college before many students even submit their application.

This means that your application will be compared with other early action applicants and not the entire pool of students who will end up applying to that college.

Even the most selective colleges and universities have a higher acceptance rate of early admission applicants. By applying early action, you are ensuring that your application is being compared with fewer applicants, which has the potential to give you a better chance for admission.

Quicker decision

When you apply early action, you will receive your admission decision early, too. This will give you more time to decide which college you want to attend, which is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.

The national college response deadline is May 1. 

If you aren’t hearing back from the majority of the schools where you apply until the spring, you may only have a month or two to compare financial aid packages, visit the schools again, and make your final decision.

Applying early will allow you to have from January until May to weigh your options and make the best possible decision for your academic future.

Scholarship opportunities

Some colleges and universities only offer certain financial aid packages and scholarship opportunities to students who apply by their early action deadline.

Look carefully at the financial aid and application requirement details when you browse the websites of each school on your list. If they tie financial aid to application deadlines, you will want to apply early.

Chances for deferment

If you apply to a college early, you could have the chance to be deferred instead of rejected. 

When you are deferred, it simply means that the college has moved your application to the regular decision pool so they have more time to consider your application before making an official decision.

During this period of time, many schools allow students to send additional application materials like updated test scores, new grade reports, and extra letters of recommendation to boost their chances of admission.

If you wait until the regular admission deadline to apply, you may not have the opportunity to receive deferment status if your application isn’t up to par.

Early action deadlines

As you can see, it can be advantageous to apply early rather than waiting until the regular admission deadline.

If you are starting to apply to colleges, you should consider applying early.

Here are a list of colleges (in alphabetical order) that offer early action and the deadlines for submitting your applications at these schools according to Campus Prep:

SchoolStateEarly Action DeadlineEarly Action Decision 
Adelphi UniversityNYDecember 1December 31
Agnes Scott CollegeGANovember 15 / January 15December 15 / February 15
Assumption CollegeMANovember 1 / December 15December 15 / January 31
Auburn UniversityALDecember 1
Augustana CollegeILNovember 1December 20
Austin CollegeTXDecember 1 / February 1January 15 / March 1
Azusa Pacific UniversityCANovember 15Within three weeks
Babson CollegeMANovember 1December 15
Bard CollegeNYNovember 1December 31
Bay Path UniversityMADecember 15
Baylor UniversityTXNovember 2January 15
Bellarmine UniversityKYNovember 1
Beloit CollegeWINovember 1 / December 1December 1 / January 1
Bennington CollegeVTDecember 1February 1
Berklee College of MusicMANovember 1January 31
Binghamton University—SUNYNYNovember 1January 15
Biola UniversityCANovember 15 / January 15January 15 / February 15
Birmingham-Southern CollegeALNovember 15December 15
Bloomfield CollegeNJNovember 30December 31
Bridgewater State UniversityMANovember 15December 15
Bryant UniversityRINovember 15January 15
Butler UniversityINNovember 1December 31
Caldwell UniversityNJDecember 1December 31
California Baptist UniversityCADecember 1
California Institute of TechnologyCANovember 1December 15
California Lutheran UniversityCANovember 1January 15
Carthage CollegeWISummerSeptember 15
Case Western Reserve UniversityOHNovember 1December 21
The Catholic University of AmericaDCNovember 1January 1
Centenary College of LouisianaLADecember 1
Centre CollegeKYDecember 1January 15
Chapman UniversityCANovember 1December 31 to February
Christendom CollegeVADecember 1December 15
Christopher Newport UniversityVADecember 1January 15
Clark UniversityMANovember 15
Cleveland Institute of ArtOHDecember 1 / January 15January 15 / February 15
Coe CollegeIADecember 10Within two weeks
College of CharlestonSCDecember 1February 1
College for Creative StudiesMIDecember 1
College of IdahoIDNovember 15 / January 15December 15 / February 15
College of Mount Saint VincentNYNovember 15December 15
College of Saint BenedictMNNovember 15 / December 15December 15 / January 15
College of WoosterOHNovember 15December 31
Colorado CollegeCONovember 1December 17
Colorado State UniversityCODecember 1December 31
Columbia University, School of General StudiesNYJanuary 15 / March 1March 1 / May 1
Concordia College New YorkNYNovember 15
Concordia University IrvineCANovember 15 / February 15December 15 / March 1
Cornish College of the ArtsWADecember 1December 15
Curry CollegeMADecember 1December 15
Dean CollegeMANovember 1 / December 1December 15 / January 15
Delaware College of Art and DesignDEDecember 1January 1
DePaul UniversityILNovember 15December 15
DePauw UniversityINDecember 1January 15
Duquesne UniversityPADecember 1
Earlham CollegeINNovember 15 / January 1December 15 / February 1
Eckerd CollegeFLNovember 15December 15
Elon UniversityNCNovember 1December 20
Emerson CollegeMANovember 1December 15
Emmanuel CollegeGANovember 1After December 15 / After January 15
Fairfield UniversityCTNovember 1December 20
Fordham UniversityNYNovember 1December 19
Framingham State UniversityMANovember 15
Furman UniversitySCDecember 1January 15
George Fox UniversityORNovember 1Rolling
George Mason UniversityVANovember 1December 15
Georgetown UniversityDCNovember 1December 15
Georgia College and State UniversityGAOctober 15Early December
Georgia Institute of TechnologyGAOctober 15/ November 1
Gordon CollegeMANovember 1 November 15 / December 15
Goucher CollegeMDDecember 1February 1
Gustavus Adolphus CollegeMNNovember 1November 15
Hamline UniversityMNDecember 1December 20
Hampden-Sydney CollegeVAOctober 15 
Hampshire CollegeMADecember 1February 15
Hampton UniversityVANovember 1January 31
Hanover CollegeINNovember 1 Rolling
Harvard UniversityMANovember 1December 15
Hellenic CollegeMADecember 1
Hendrix CollegeARNovember 15Beginning December 15 / Beginning March 1
High Point UniversityNCNovember 15December 16
Hofstra UniversityNYNovember 15 Beginning December 15 / Beginning January 15
Hollins UniversityVANovember 15
Howard UniversityDCNovember 1December 15
Illinois CollegeILDecember 1
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityILNovember 15November 15 to December 15
Iona CollegeNYDecember 15
Ithaca CollegeNYDecember 1February 1
James Madison UniversityVANovember 15
John Carroll UniversityOHDecember 1December 21
Kalamazoo CollegeMINovember 1December 20
Kean UniversityNJJanuary 1January 31
Knox CollegeILNovember 1 / December 1December 15 / January 15
La Salle UniversityPANovember 1November 30
Lake Forest CollegeILNovember 1 / January 15Rolling
Lasell CollegeMANovember 15 / January 15December 1 / February 1
Lawrence UniversityWINovember 1 / December 1December 15 / January 25
Le Moyne CollegeNYNovember 15Beginning December 15
Lees-McRae CollegeNCDecember 1December 15
Lesley UniversityMADecember 1January 1
Lewis & Clark CollegeORNovember 1January 1
LIM CollegeNYNovember 15
Longwood UniversityVADecember 1
Loyola Marymount UniversityCANovember 1December 31
Loyola University MarylandMDNovember 15January 15
Lycoming CollegePADecember 1December 15
Lynn UniversityFLNovember 15
Maine Maritime AcademyMENovember 30February 1
Manhattanville CollegeNYDecember 1Rolling
Marist CollegeNYNovember 15January 15
Massachusetts College of Art and DesignMADecember 1Early January
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesMANovember 1 / December 1December 15 / January 15
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMANovember 1December 15
Massachusetts Maritime AcademyMANovember 15
The Master’s UniversityCANovember 1
McDaniel CollegeMDNovember 15 / December 15December 15 / January 15
Menlo CollegeCANovember 15December 15
Mercer UniversityGAOctober 15November 7
Merrimack CollegeMANovember 15 / January 15December 1 / February 1
Miami UniversityOHDecember 1January 15
Michigan State UniversityMINovember 1January 15
Millsaps CollegeMSNovember 15January 15
Minneapolis College of Art and DesignMNDecember 1December 15
Molloy CollegeNYDecember 1Decisions “made promptly”
Monmouth UniversityNJDecember 1January 15
Montserrat College of ArtMADecember 6December 19
Mount Saint Mary’s UniversityCADecember 1January 15
Mount St. Mary’s UniversityMDNovember 1December 25
New York Institute of TechnologyNYFebruary 15Rolling
North Carolina State UniversityNCNovember 1January 30
Northeastern UniversityMANovember 1February 1
Northwest Nazarene UniversityIDNovember 15
Northwest UniversityWANovember 15 / January 15
Oglethorpe UniversityGANovember 15Within two weeks
The Ohio State UniversityOHNovember 15January 31
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityOHDecember 1December 15
Old Dominion UniversityVADecember 1January 31
Oregon State UniversityORNovember 1December 14
Pace UniversityNYNovember 15 / December 1
Parsons School of Design (The New School)NYNovember 1December 31
Patrick Henry CollegeVANovember 1Rolling
Pennsylvania State University (all undergraduate campuses)PANovember 1December 24
Point Loma Nazarene UniversityCANovember 15December 15
Pratt InstituteNYNovember 1Late December to early January
Presbyterian CollegeSCDecember 1December 15
Princeton UniversityNJNovember 1December 15
Providence CollegeRINovember 1Early January
Purchase College—SUNYNYNovember 15
Purdue UniversityINNovember 1January 15
Radford UniversityVADecember 1January 15
Randolph CollegeVANovember 15December 15
Randolph-Macon CollegeVANovember 15January 1
Reed CollegeORNovember 15February 15
Regis CollegeMANovember 15Rolling
Rhodes CollegeTNNovember 15January 15
Rider UniversityNJNovember 15December 20
Roger Williams UniversityRINovember 15December 15
Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyINNovember 1December 15
Rutgers—New BrunswickNJNovember 1February 15
The Sage CollegesNYDecember 1
Saint Anselm CollegeNHNovember 15January 15
Saint John’s UniversityMNNovember 15 / December 15December 15 / January 15
Saint Joseph’s College of MaineMENovember 15Beginning December 15
Saint Joseph’s UniversityPANovember 1December 20
Saint Mary’s College of CaliforniaCANovember 15
Salisbury UniversityMDDecember 1January 15
Salve Regina UniversityRINovember 1January 1
Santa Clara UniversityCANovember 1December 31
School of the Art Institute of ChicagoILNovember 15
Seattle Pacific UniversityWANovember 1
Seattle UniversityWANovember 15December 21
Seton Hall UniversityNJNovember 15 / December 15December 30 / January 31
Sewanee: The University of the SouthTNDecember 1February 15
Shepherd UniversityWVNovember 15Within 10 business days
Siena CollegeNYOctober 15Within one week
Simmons CollegeMANovember 1 / December 1December 15 / January 15
Southern Methodist UniversityTXNovember 1
Southern New Hampshire UniversityNHNovember 15December 15
Southwestern UniversityTXDecember 7
Spelman CollegeGANovember 15December 31
St. John’s CollegeMDNovember 15December 15
St. John’s CollegeNMNovember 15December 15
Stanford UniversityCANovember 1December 15
Sterling CollegeVTDecember 15 / January 15January 1 / February 1
Stonehill CollegeMANovember 1January 1
Suffolk UniversityMANovember 15December 20
SUNY CortlandNYNovember 15January 15
SUNY New PaltzNYNovember 15January 15
SUNY OneontaNYNovember 15January 15
Susquehanna UniversityPANovember 1 / December 1December 1 / January 15
Sweet Briar CollegeVADecember 1
Tarleton State UniversityTXMarch 1
Temple UniversityPANovember 1January 10
Texas Christian UniversityTXNovember 1January 1
Texas Lutheran UniversityTXNovember 15Within two weeks
Transylvania UniversityKYOctober 31 / December 1Early December
Trinity UniversityTXNovember 1December 15
Tulane UniversityLANovember 15January 15
United States Coast Guard AcademyCTOctober 15December 23
Unity CollegeMEDecember 15
University of AkronOHNovember 1
University at Albany—SUNYNYNovember 15
University of ArkansasARNovember 15
University at Buffalo—SUNYNYNovember 15“Candidates will receive an early response”
University of ChicagoILNovember 1December 15
University of CincinnatiOHDecember 1
University of Colorado BoulderCONovember 15February 1
University of DallasTXNovember 1 / December 1
University of DaytonOHNovember 1
University of DenverCONovember 1
University of EvansvilleINNovember 1December 15
University of GeorgiaGAOctober 15December 1
University of Illinois at ChicagoILNovember 1December 1
University of KentuckyKYDecember 1Rolling, usually in 4-6 weeks
University of MaineMEDecember 1
University of Maine at FarmingtonMENovember 15Rolling
University of Mary WashingtonVANovember 15January 31
University of MarylandMDNovember 1February 1
University of Massachusetts AmherstMANovember 5January 15
University of Massachusetts DartmouthMANovember 15December 15
University of Massachusetts LowellMANovember 5 / January 5
University of MiamiFLNovember 1Late January to early February
University of MichiganMINovember 1
University of Minnesota—Twin CitiesMNNovember 1January 31
University of New EnglandMENovember 15December 31
University of New HampshireNHNovember 15January 31
University of New HavenCTDecember 15Rolling, usually in 4-6 weeks
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNCOctober 15January 31
University of North Carolina at CharlotteNCNovember 1January 30
University of North Carolina at WilmingtonNCOctober 15Rolling
University of Notre DameINNovember 1December 15
University of OregonORNovember 1December 15
University of the PacificCANovember 15January 15
University of RedlandsCANovember 15
University of Rhode IslandRIDecember 1
University of San FranciscoCANovember 1Beginning December 15
University of ScrantonPANovember 15Beginning December 15
University of South CarolinaSCOctober 15December 15
University of St. ThomasTXNovember 1December 15
University of TampaFLNovember 15 / January 15December 15 / February 15
University of UtahUTDecember 1January 15
University of VermontVTNovember 1December 15
University of VirginiaVANovember 1February 1
University of Virginia’s College at WiseVADecember 1 / February 1
University of Wisconsin—MadisonWINovember 1January 31
Ursinus CollegePANovember 1December 15
Utica CollegeNYNovember 15December 15
Vanguard University of Southern CaliforniaCADecember 1 
Villanova UniversityPANovember 1January 15
Wabash CollegeINDecember 1December 31
Warren Wilson CollegeNCNovember 15
Washington CollegeMDDecember 1January 15
Washington & Jefferson CollegePAJanuary 15February 15
Wells CollegeNYDecember 15
Western Carolina UniversityNCNovember 15December 15
Westminster CollegePANovember 15December 15
Westmont CollegeCAOctober 15 / November 1December 1 / Christmas break
Wheaton CollegeILOctober 15 / November 15Thanksgiving / Christmas
Wheaton CollegeMANovember 15January 15
Whittier CollegeCADecember 1December 31
Whitworth UniversityWANovember 15 / January 15
Willamette UniversityORNovember 15December 30
Wittenberg UniversityOHDecember 1January 1
Wofford CollegeSCNovember 15February 1
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteMANovember 1 / January 15December 15 / March 1
Worcester State UniversityMANovember 15
Yale UniversityCTNovember 1December 15

Tips for applying early action

If you do decide to apply early action, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Work on your essays during the summer. If you spend time crafting the perfect personal essays over the summer, all you will need to do is have an English teacher or tutor review them in August before they are ready to submit.
  • Take the SAT/ACT early. It is better to take the SAT or ACT for the first time early in your junior year so that you have plenty of time to retake the test and reach your target score before early action deadlines.
  • Get teacher and counselor recommendations early. As a rule of thumb, you should ask for recommendation letters at least 2-3 weeks before they are due. Since many teachers and counselors expect students to apply during regular decision windows, they may not be able to write a strong recommendation letter for you if you wait until the last minute to ask.

Learn how to earn a great SAT or ACT score and discover more tips for getting into the college of your dreams when you contact Prep Expert.

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