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Facebook Live Recap and Bonus Questions: Early Decision & Early Action

Applying Early Decision or Early Action is a good way to get into your dream college, but it can be a confusing process. During my recent Facebook Live Q&A, I answered your toughest questions and gave my insider advice on Early Decision and Early Action programs.

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of this session with a list of the questions I answered live, the full video of my session, and some bonus questions that I didn't get to answer live!

  • What is the difference between Early Decision and Early Action?
  • How do you find out if a school you are considering has an ED or EA program?
  • Why do colleges use ED and EA programs?
  • Will applying early reduce my chances of getting merit aid?
  • Is there a way to know the statistics on the dollar amounts of grants and scholarships of students enrolled in colleges via Early Decision for an individual college?
  • Should you apply ED if you are going to be applying for financial aid?
  • My daughter's dream school only offers ED or RD. However we (financially) are unable to apply ED. How can she express to them that they are her #1 choice but financially she cannot apply ED?
  • What happens if you get accepted ED but your financial aid package is not enough?
  • What are the possible outcomes of applying ED or EA?
  • What should you do if you are deferred?
  • If a student is not accepted via Early Decision, can they re-apply for Regular Decision?
  • My son plans to apply Early Decision to his first choice. Can he send applications to other schools at the same time under Regular Decision?
  • Can you apply to multiple Early Decision or Early Action programs?
  • Some institutions pride themselves on their highly competitive EA applicant pool. What is the reasoning behind this?
  • If you are not a highly competitive candidate, but meet the school's general applicant markers would it be more beneficial to wait and apply RD?
  • I am retaking the SAT in November, is it too late to submit those test results if I'm applying for Early Action?
  • My child has two universities that are a reach based on her scores and report card. One of them is clearly her #1 choice. Both the universities have Early Decision I - November 1st, and Early Decision II - December 15th. What should our strategy be?
  • How important are first semester senior grades when applying EA?
  • I have twin boys that may apply to some of the same selective ED or EA schools. What can they do to show their uniqueness and how do admissions perceive twins during ED or EA?
  • Should my son include his relatively low SAT scores in his EA application, opt for test optional, if offered, or wait to see if his scores improve?
  • Is there any advantage to submitting your portion of the application before other application materials?
  • My son has invited his summer research adviser to submit a college specific recommendation for his ED college. If we later invite this adviser to be "Other Recommender" on RD application colleges, can the recommender change the recommendation going out, or is there the risk of the same ED college specific recommendation getting sent out?


1.What if the financial aid package that you receive back from your ED school includes loans but you can't afford loans?

Ahh. Yes, this is what a lot of colleges do. They don't meet a student's full need and offer up loans as an alternative. If loans aren't an option, I would reach out to the admissions and financial aid offices to see if they can provide more need based aid.

2.Will colleges know if a student is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist?

No, the student would need to share that on their application. Most students list in the Honors section of the Common App.

3. Should the ACT and SAT reports be sent for Early Decision and Early Action or is just one testing report sufficient?

One test is sufficient, but if there are benefits to showing both of them (i.e. one shows a higher score in a section than another), send both. Generally, students tend to send one or the other—whichever one puts them in the best light. If they send both, the college will automatically pick up whichever score is better.