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What is an Early Decision Deadline?

Applying to any educational institution can be very challenging, especially if your target school is well-known and popular among the applicants. But, in this case, schools have already developed an approach for identifying the most eager and motivated future students. Read this article to find out more about early decision deadlines. 

Early decision deadline can bring substantial benefits for those students who have already made their choices in favor of a particular college. If you are among such students, this is a good choice to apply before the early decision deadline. But you should keep in mind that a deadline itself is binding. If you choose it, you should attend the respective educational institution. 

This deadline should consider in the first turn the following students:

  • who have already performed extensive researches about their colleges;
  • are completely sure about their first-choice college;
  • have chosen a college strong from the academic and social perspective, and close geographically;
  • student at least meet all admission requirements, including about all test scores;
  • that have sufficient academic records.

Difference between Early Decision Deadlines and Early Action Deadlines 

Unlike the early decision deadlines, early action deadlines don’t bind you in any way. If you receive a response from your target college, you still don’t need to commit yourself to this educational institution before the ordinary date for their reply (May 1). Make sure you have understood the difference between these deadlines. In case of any doubts, you should clarify such with college counselors.

Difference between Single-Choice Early Action 

Nearly 400 colleges have their early decision or early action deadlines. Some of them have both. But there is another type of deadline you should be aware of. Colleges may also have another option, nonbinding by nature – single-choice early action. If you enjoy this option, you may not apply to another college by enjoying the early decision or early action deadlines. 

Pros and cons of early decision deadlines

This type of deadline has more advantages than disadvantages. By keeping it in mind, you may organize your preparation better and increase your chances of becoming a student of your dream school.  You will save your time and reduce the level of anxiety about your admission. Also, you will have more time to search for various housing options. But, the most important is that you will be able to search for other colleges in case of any difficulties with your first choice. 

If we speak about the drawbacks of this type of deadline, it can be unfair for students from families with low incomes. Usually, they are unable to compare financial aid offers. So, students from families with a greater amount of money will likely having extra advantages but unfairly. 

What Students Who Have Chosen the Early Decision Deadline Should Do?

All interested students who want to enjoy this option will:

  • apply beforehand (as a rule, in November) to their target college;
  • get a decision about their admission also before the ordinary date for notifying students (as a rule, before the beginning of December);
  • start to attend their target college in case of offering and accepting of the respective package of financial aid;
  • submit their application to a target college by enjoying the option of early decision deadline but submit applications to other colleges according to the ordinary deadlines;
  • withdraw the rest of applications in case of acceptance under the early decision deadline;
  • deposit funds, usually nonrefundable, beforehand (the deadline is May 1). 

Early Decision Deadlines I

We have reviewed websites of the best schools and found out that early application deadlines are similar. For your convenience, we have grouped all of them. So, you can simply choose from the list of those schools you are interested in. 

November 1

Most schools have this deadline, namely:

  • Amherst College;
  • Arizona State;
  • Babson College;
  • Bard College;
  • Barnard College;
  • Brandeis University;
  • Brown University;
  • Bryant College;
  • Carnegie Mellon University;
  • Case Western Reserve;
  • Chapman University;
  • College of William and Mary;
  • Columbia University;
  • Cornell University;
  • Dartmouth College;
  • Drexel University;
  • Elon University;
  • Emory University;
  • Fordham University;
  • George Washington University;
  • Howard University;
  • Ithaca;
  • Lehigh University;
  • Lewis and Clark;
  • Loyola Marymount;
  • Miami University;
  • Middlebury College;
  • New York University;
  • Northeastern University;
  • Pace University;
  • Pepperdine University;
  • Providence College;
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;
  • Santa Clara University;
  • Sarah Lawrence College;
  • Southern Methodist University;
  • Trinity College;
  • Tufts University;
  • University of Chicago;
  • University of Pennsylvania;
  • Vanderbilt University;
  • Virginia Tech;
  • Washington University in St. Louis;
  • Wellesley College;
  • Wittenberg University.

November 15

This deadline established the next educational institutions:

  • American University;
  • Bates College;
  • Bowdoin College;
  • Bryn Mawr College;
  • Clark University;
  • Colby College;
  • Colgate University;
  • Fairfield;
  • Hamilton College;
  • Harvey Mudd College;
  • Haverford University;
  • Kenyon College;
  • Lafayette College;
  • Marist;
  • Mount Holyoke College;
  • Oberlin College;
  • Skidmore College;
  • Smith College;
  • Syracuse University;
  • Wake Forest University;
  • Williams College.

December 1

Only two universities have this deadline:

  • Sacred Heart University;
  • Stonehill College.

December 15 

Two universities have this deadline:

  • Boston University;
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Early Decision Deadlines II 

If you passed the first early decision deadline, you could enjoy an early decision deadline II. Here are the main of them.

January 1

The next universities have this deadline: 

  • Bates College;
  • Bowdoin College;
  • Brandeis University;
  • Bryn Mawr College;
  • Colby College;
  • College of William and Mary;
  • Emory University;
  • Hamilton College;
  • Haverford University;
  • Lehigh University;
  • Miami University;
  • Middlebury College;
  • Mount Holyoke College;
  • New York University;
  • Smith College;
  • Tufts University;
  • Vanderbilt University;
  • Wake Forest University;
  • Wellesley College

January 2

Keep in mind this deadline, if you are interested in the following schools:

  • Babson College
  • Northeastern University;
  • Oberlin College;
  • Sarah Lawrence College;
  • University of Chicago;
  • Washington University in St. Louis

January 5

The following universities have this deadline: 

  • George Washington University;
  • Harvey Mudd College.

January 15

Consider this deadline, if you think about applying to the next universities:

  • American University;
  • Bryant College;
  • Case Western Reserve;
  • Clark University;
  • Colgate University;
  • Fairfield;
  • Kenyon College;
  • Skidmore College;
  • Southern Methodist University;
  • Trinity College.

Other deadlines in February

  • February 1 – Baylor University Marist; 
  • February 15 – Boston University.

(!) Please note that due to the COVID-19 challenges, these dates may be changed. 

Final Words

Considering early decision deadlines can save you a lot of time and effort. If you are accepted, you only have to attend your target college but without the opportunities for applying to other colleges. This option can save your time and effort. So, research all colleges you may be interested in and think about this type of deadline, if available. Good luck to you. 

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