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College Early Decision and Early Action Decision Dates for 2019-2020

Just as the Regular Decision deadlines are looming, many students are eagerly awaiting news from colleges they’ve applied to Early Action (non-binding) or Early Decision (binding). Typically, notifications for these Early applications are sent by mid-December. Below is a list of Ivy League and other noteworthy colleges and their EA/ED notification dates:

For EA/ED, colleges have the option to accept, reject, or defer. In the first two cases, the result is simple, but for deferrals, you may be wondering the likelihood of ultimately getting accepted. If you are deferred, you should not give up hope, but you should also be more open to other options.

Colleges have different ways to spin a deferral, but the general idea is that you show promise. Typically, admissions officers need more time (and the Regular Decision applicant pool) to determine if you are meant for their incoming freshman class.

One of the most important elements of your deferral is that the admissions officers want to see your senior mid-year grades. An upward grade trend (or maintaining good grades) is crucial. Also, if you have taken official tests like the SAT or ACT and have improved scores, sending those updates is critical.

Beyond grades and test scores, you can send a letter showing your continued interest (as well as offering some more pieces of evidence that you are a qualified candidate--perhaps related to extracurriculars, internships, and/or awards) and of course improve your Regular Decision application, perhaps polishing or revising your essays and tweaking your resume (when applicable).

Ultimately, it's hard to say what will happen with a deferral, but most colleges report that deferred decisions from Early to Regular are not automatic rejections or "polite rejections."

Here's what college admissions officers have said regarding deferrals:

So what can you do now? Not all that much, it turns out. [...] We do not recommend that you send the admissions office piles of updates after a deferral. You should not try to re-do any parts of your application. You should not inundate your admissions officer with weekly emails and cards. [...] We’ll get your mid-year grades from your school counselor to see how you’re doing in your senior year classes, and if you want you can send us one letter of update to let us know what you’ve been up to since November 1st. The bottom line is that “deferral” does not mean “we need more information” or “something wasn’t good enough.” It means we see a lot of great potential in you and we just need a little more time to sit in that committee room and mull things over.

The best thing you can do after being deferred is to send new information since the original submission of your application. We must have your senior mid-year grade report sent from your high school to Rice. Tell us about your continued interest in Rice along with details of any new awards, accolades, or accomplishments. Additions to your file should be sent directly from you, the student. Please do not send additional letters of recommendation from school officials, Rice alumni, or others.

The only “new” thing you need to send in is the February Updates and Notes form. You’ll use the FUN form to tell us your midyear grades and anything new that has happened or will happen. As always, you can send us stuff via email or mail, but the FUN form is the best way to update us. [...] You may still submit a supplemental portfolio, but you do not need to; I would only consider this if you were planning to do so during EA but ran out of time. If you are retaking tests in December or January, you may also designate MIT as a score recipient and we’ll add them to your application. You may not rewrite your essays, redo your interview, redo your entire application…anything like that. We deferred you because we want to reconsider your application (the one you have already sent) in RA. Nobody, not even me, can accurately gauge your chance of being admitted to MIT. With that said, in the last few years we have admitted between 150-300 students in RA who were initially deferred in EA. That’s a small number, but to be honest, so is the number of RA applicants who are admitted. It’s hard to get into MIT.

...your mid-year grades are typically the most important new information to be reviewed when evaluating your application in the Regular Decision pool. That said, if you have new testing, achievements, or involvements that are not already represented in your application, you may send them to our office to be considered. Be sure that this information illuminates something new. Keep in mind that the majority of our applicants and admitted students submit only what is required.

As you can see, each college is different, but the main takeaway is that there is still hope with a EA/ED deferral, and deferred students do get accepted in the RD pool, but a serious review of other options is also important. Thankfully, B2A is all about making your "second chance" the best it can be (as well as helping you navigate alternatives).

If you do get news that you have been accepted to your EA or ED college, then congratulations (and let us know)! And, for anyone else who hasn’t applied (because they are not a senior), winter break is a great time to get ahead on studying for the SAT/ACT and managing GPA!

Didn’t get the EA/ED notification result that you were looking for? Have no fear! B2A can help you determine your best options and help you move forward with the Regular Decision application. Additionally, we can help other students prepare so that they can see the best results for their college applications when the time comes. All of this is possible through our Winter Break Intensive programs and our additional hours during finals! Check out our programs!

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