What is the difference between early decision & early action for colleges?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,739
    Jerome Cole, Director of College Counseling at the Edmund Burke School in Washington D.C., discusses the difference between early decision versus early action when applying to college.

    Jerome A. Cole, MA

    Jerome A. Cole, M.A., is the Director of College Counseling for the Edmund Burke school in Washington, D.C. and the founder of Cole Educational Consulting Services (Cole ECS.) He has worked with students and families for over seven years to help them plan and strategize for college. As a college counselor at Burke, an independent college preparatory high school founded in 1968, Mr. Cole oversees a program that is designed to support students and families as they go through the selection and admission process for college. Mr. Cole advises over 100 students each year in a small academically challenging environment where every senior is expected to apply to and enroll in college. Prior to Burke, he was a school counselor at Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has successfully counseled hundreds of students and helped them prepare for admission to a variety of schools such as: American University, Clark-Atlanta University, Davidson College, George Washington University, Harvard University, Pitzer College, Stanford University, Temple University, and the University of Maryland at College Park, to highlight just a few. He established the consulting firm Cole ECS to provide students and families with the necessary information and support to make the best choice for college. Cole ECS defines the best choice as the optimal learning and social environment to ensure a student’s holistic success, culminating in on-time or early graduation and desirable post-graduate options. Mr. Cole earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Catholic University, and then went on to obtain a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development from George Washington University. He is certified as a school counselor and is a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC).

    Host: What is the difference between early decision versus early action? Jerome Cole: Both early decision and early action is basically the registration deadline for certain schools and they say it s early because typically, those deadlines are in November and December. The main difference between early decision or ED as you will refer to versus early action or EA is that, a student who declares early decision is making a binding commitment to that particular school. So, you apply ED, you are accepted, you have now committed, so all the other applications have to be withdrawn at that point. On the other hand, if a school that has what they call an EA or early action policy, you get that same early notification, but you are not bound or committed to go to that particular college or university.

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