Early Action and Early Decision 2022-2023 Policies for the Top 50

Padya Paramita

Early Action and Early Decision 2022-2023 Policies for the Top 50

Whether you’ve got a dream school in mind or you want to get the stressful college application process out of the way as soon as possible, applying in the early action and early decision 2022-2023 rounds are great options for students who feel confident with their application components and are willing to commit to a school. The difference between early action and early decision lies in the nature of the commitment. When you apply early decision, you sign a binding agreement—you’re choosing to commit to the school if you are accepted. Early action on the other hand is non-binding. If you’re not ready to sign the dotted line during the November deadline, a lot of schools—particularly liberal arts colleges—offer a second early decision round in January. 

It’ll probably come as no surprise to you that every school has different policies for early applications. Not all colleges and universities offer early action—some have two early decision options, and some offer no early application route at all. To guide you through the rules at the top schools, I’ve outlined the early action and early decision 2022-2023 policies at the top 50 national universities and liberal colleges with their deadlines, as well as the trends across different schools and how much of a difference applying early can make to your college application. 

Table Key 

  • Early Action (EA) - Nonbinding admissions process for students to apply to college earlier than the regular deadline, usually in November of senior year. Students receive admissions notifications in December, and if accepted, are not required to commit.
  • Early Decision I (ED I) - Binding admissions process for students to apply to college earlier than the regular deadline, usually in November of senior year. Students receive admissions notifications in December, and if accepted, are required to commit. 
  • Early Decision II (ED II) - Binding admissions process for students to apply to college closer to the regular deadline in January. Students receive admissions notifications in mid-February, and if accepted, are required to commit.
  • Restrictive Early Action (REA) or Single-Choice Early Action - Different schools refer to this policy in different ways. REA/single-choice early action is process more restrictive than early action but less committal than early decision. Students can apply only to their single-choice EA institution in the early round, with exceptions such as nonbinding applications to public or foreign universities. Students apply in November and are notified in December with no obligation to commit if accepted. 
  • Regular Decision - Vast majority of students apply regular decision, usually in January, and are notified in late March or early April. Students have no obligation to commit if accepted.

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the terms, let’s look at the early application policies at the top schools around the country.

Early Action and Early Decision Policies for the Top 50 National Universities

School Early Action and Early Decision Policies for the Top 50 National Universities
Princeton University Single-choice early action or restrictive early action due November 1; Okay to apply early to any public institution, service academy, international institution, college with nonbinding rolling admissions at the same time
Columbia University Early decision due November 1
Harvard University Restrictive early action due November 1; Okay to apply to public universities and foreign universities with no binding option at the same time
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Early action due November 1
Yale University Single-choice early action due November 1; May apply to other schools with nonbinding rolling admissions programs or apply ED II to colleges if admission notification comes after January 1
Stanford University Restrictive early action due November 1; Okay to apply early to any public institution, service academy, international institution, college with nonbinding rolling admission, or college with early deadlines for scholarship as long as it is nonbinding
University of Chicago Early decision due November 1; Early action due November 1; Early decision II due January 2
University of Pennsylvania Early decision due November 1
California Institute of Technology Early action due November 1
Johns Hopkins University Early decision due November 1 Early decision II due January 3
Duke University Early decision due November 1
Northwestern University Early decision due November 1
Dartmouth College Early decision due November 1
Brown University Early decision due November 1
Vanderbilt University Early decision due November 1
Washington University in St. Louis Early decision due November 1
Cornell University Early decision due November 1
Rice University Early decision due November 1
University of Notre Dame Restrictive early action due November 1; Okay to apply to other nonbinding EA programs
University of California - Los Angeles No early application option; All UC applications are due November 30
Emory University Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
University of California - Berkeley No early application option; All UC applications are due November 30
Georgetown University Early action due November 1; Students applying EA are not allowed to apply to any Early Decision program
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Early action due November 1
Carnegie Mellon University Early decision due November 1; Early admission for high school juniors who have met the course requirements for each CMU school, due January 1
University of Virginia Early action due November 1; Early decision due October 15
University of Southern California No EA or ED option; Regular decision applications due January 15
New York University Early decision I due November 1 Early decision II due January 1
University of California - Santa Barbara No early application option; All UC applications are due November 30
Tufts University Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
University of Florida No EA or ED program; Applications due November 1; Applications after November 2 considered on a space-availability basis until March 1
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Early action due October 15
Wake Forest University Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
University of Rochester Early decision due November 1
Boston College Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
University of California - Irvine No early application option; All UC applications are due November 30
Georgia Institute of Technology Early action due October 15
William & Mary Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
Boston University Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 6
Brandeis University Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
Case Western Reserve University Early action due November 1; Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 15
Tulane University Early action due November 15; Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 7
University of Wisconsin - Madison Early action due November 1
University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign Early action due November 1
University of Georgia Early action due October 15
Lehigh University Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
Northeastern University Early decision I due November 1; Early action due November 1 Early decision II due January 1
Ohio State University Early action due November 1
Pepperdine University Early action due November 1
Purdue University Early action due November1
Villanova University Early action due November 1; Early decision due November 1

Early Action and Early Decision Policies for the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges

School Early Action/Early Action Policy
Williams College Early decision due November 15
Amherst College Early decision due November 1
Swarthmore College Early decision due November 15
Pomona College Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
Wellesley College Early decision I due November 1 Early decision II due January 1
Bowdoin College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
United States Naval Academy No ED or EA option; Applications due January 31
Claremont McKenna Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 5
Carleton College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Hamilton College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Middlebury College Early decision I due November 1; Early decision II due January 1
United States Military Academy (West Point) No ED or EA option; Applications due Feb 28
Washington and Lee University Early decision I due December 1; Early decision II due January 15
Grinnell College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Vassar College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Colby College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Davidson College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 2
Haverford College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Smith College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Colgate University Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Wesleyan University Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
United States Air Force Academy No ED or EA option; Applications due December 31
Barnard College Early decision I due November 1
Bates College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
University of Richmond Early decision due November 1 Early decision II due November 1
Colorado College Early action due November 10; Early decision due November 10; Early decision II due January 15
Harvey Mudd College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 5
Macalester College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Bryn Mawr College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Kenyon College Mid-DecemberEarly decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Scripps College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 3
Soka University of America Early action due November 1
Berea College Early action I due November 15; Early action II due January 31
Bucknell University Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Mount Holyoke College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
College of the Holy Cross Rolling early decision open August 1, I due December 15
Oberlin College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 2
Pitzer College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Skidmore College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Lafayette College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Occidental College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Thomas Aquinas College No ED or EA option; Rolling admissions open for any student who has completed junior year, students accepted on a space-availability basis
Franklin and Marshall College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Denison University Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
Trinity College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1
Union College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 15
DePauw University Early decision I due November 15; Early action due December 1; Early decision due January 15
Furman College Early decision I due November 15; Early action due December 1; Early decision due January 15
Sewanee - the University of the South Early decision I due November 15; Early action due December 1; Early decision II due January 15
Connecticut College Early decision I due November 15; Early decision II due January 1

Trends Across Schools

Most of the schools on the two lists offer early action and early decision 2022-2023 routes. The University of California schools do not have early admission rounds, but their regular applications are due on November 30, which is earlier than regular decision dates for most schools. Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford offer restrictive early action, which despite not being binding, does not allow students to apply to other schools early—with a few exceptions.

Another notable trend lies in the fact that early action applies mostly in the case of national universities, while early decision II is offered mostly by liberal arts colleges. UChicago, Johns Hopkins, Wash U, Boston College, Boston University, Emory, Brandeis, Case Western, RPI, and Northeastern are the top national universities that offer ED II. Sewanee, Centre, Colorado, Soka, and the University of Richmond are some of the liberal arts colleges with early action options. This statistic makes sense since national universities are larger and receive a lot more applications. Because liberal arts schools have fewer spots, they are more interested in students who are 100% willing to commit, and thus offer two different options for binding early decision. 

Advantages of Applying Early Admission and Early Decision 2022-2023

Since you’ll be going up against a smaller application pool no matter which school you apply to in the early round, you have a greater chance of admission into a college, even just statistically speaking. Of course, you need to have excellent grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and essays to compete against the best students across the country. 

Schools use early action and early admission numbers as ways of estimating the yield of incoming classes. Since colleges know students applying early are likely or formally bound to commit, early applicants are more likely to get accepted. The early action and early decision 2022-2023 rates will be inflated by legacy students and recruited athletes. Keep in mind that the recruitment process for athletes is an entirely different one, as they are usually in touch with coaches who then relay the information to admissions officers. 

It’s clear that schools are able to admit a greater percentage of students who apply in this round. But, you shouldn’t just send a half-polished application in the  hopes of an admissions boost. Most students who apply early typically have their act together. You will be competing against students confident in their grades, scores, and extracurriculars. If you submit a mediocre application, chances are you will not fare very well. If you apply EA, and you’re a mediocre applicant, colleges won’t accept you knowing that you’re a mediocre applicant and they can’t count on you for yield. Sometimes for ED, even if it’s not in the best state, students rush to finish their application to their dream school to increase their chances and hoping for a miracle. This strategy isn’t a sound one. 

But, if you think your profile is solid, your application is ready to be sent, and you are 100% sure what your top choice is, why not apply ED? If there’s a liberal arts college you really want to go to but your application is not up to the mark in November, you can always apply ED II. 

Applying in the early action and early decision 2022-2023 round will not only increase your chances of acceptance, but if you’re accepted, you don’t have to submit regular decision applications! Of course, you should continue working on RD applications until you hear back to prepare for all outcomes. But once you’ve been notified, you’ll have a giant responsibility lifted off your shoulders. Plus, you’ll be able to save time and money.

Disadvantages of Applying Early

Applying early decision isn’t an ideal option for everyone—it has its downsides. Since it’s binding, once you’re accepted, you won’t be able to explore other options or know whether other schools might make better financial aid offers. If you’re not 100% ready to commit both mentally and financially, don’t take the plunge! Moreover, you’ll need to have everything in order and ready to go 2 months earlier. If stronger second quarter grades could benefit your profile or if you’re waiting to achieve something major before January, hold back on early decision.

Although early action may seem more beneficial and appealing since you don’t have to fully commit, EA has its own disadvantages. For example, if you’re applying to a school that has both ED and EA, such as Colorado College or the University of Richmond, admissions officers are more likely to consider you more seriously if you apply ED. You might apply EA to keep your options open, which they could see as a sign of a student who’s not likely to commit if they are accepted. 

The idea of choosing a single college when there are so many options to explore can seem scary. But, with thorough research and an examination of majors and departments, student groups, and facilities offered by a campus, you might find a school that is the perfect fit for you early in your college search. If that’s the case, why wait until the regular decision? Look at the early action and early decision 2022-2023 requirements and deadlines of your choice and start preparing now. If you get college applications out of the way early, you can have a stress-free last semester of high school, and that is a win.

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