How Soon Are Early Decision Deadlines for Fall 2021 College Admissions?
As November approaches, that usually means one important thing in the college admissions world: Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) deadlines. You may be asking yourself, what makes these deadlines so significant? And, also, what exactly is the difference between Early Action and Early Decision? (And, of course, when are those deadlines?)
Allow me to explain.
Two Common College Application Periods
Colleges, in many cases, have two time frames for accepting applications: Early Action/Early Decision and Regular Decision.
Most people are familiar with Regular Decision, which typically involves applying around the end of the calendar year and then hearing back about the decision during the following spring.
For Regular Decision, a benefit is that you have more time to complete your application and ensure everything looks superb. However, a downside is that there may be less room for acceptances (because spots were taken during the Early application window) and there usually is more competition from a wider pool of applicants.
Early Action and Early Decision
Early Action (accepted early but can still choose and apply to other colleges) and Early Decision (legally bound to college if accepted and cannot apply to any other colleges) are application deadlines that, as the names would suggest, occur earlier than the Regular Decision ones but typically give you a few benefits.
First, you are usually competing with fewer students, so the acceptance rates are higher. Second, for Early Action and Early Decision, if you are deferred, you get an actual second chance to improve your application in the Regular Decision window.
Just keep in mind that if you haven’t completed your application and essays sufficiently, you shouldn’t rush to submit Early. A mediocre Early application isn’t going to help your chances of acceptance. And you may get outright rejected, which means there is no second chance during the Regular Decision period.
Early Action and Early Decision Deadlines for Top Colleges (Freshman for Fall 2021)
Note: The dates listed are for EARLY DECISION unless otherwise noted as Early Action (EA).
Amherst College: November 16
Barnard College: November 1
Baylor University: November 2, November 2 (EA)
Boston University: November 1
Bowdoin College: November 15
Brown University: November 1
CalTech: November 1 (EA)
Carnegie Mellon University: November 1
Case Western Reserve: November 1, November 1 (EA)
Colgate University: November 15
Columbia University: November 1
Cornell University: November 16
Dartmouth College: November 1
Duke University: November 16
Emory University: November 1
Hamilton College: November 15
Harvard University: November 1 (Restrictive EA, which means that, while you’re not legally bound to go to Harvard if accepted, you are declaring that you will only apply to Harvard during the Early application window)
Harvey Mudd College: November 15
Johns Hopkins University: November 2
Lafayette College: November 15
Middlebury College: November 15
MIT: November 1 (EA)
New York University: November 1
Northeastern University: November 1, November 1 (EA)
Northwestern University: November 1
Princeton University: cancelled because of COVID-19
Skidmore College: November 15
Southern Methodist University: November 1, November 1 (EA)
Stanford University: November 1 (Restrictive EA; see Harvard for explanation)
Tufts University: November 17
Tulane University: November 1, November 15 (EA)
University of Chicago: November 2, November 2 (EA)
University of Michigan: November 15 (EA)
University of Pennsylvania: November 1
University of Virginia: November 1, November 1 (EA)
Vanderbilt University: November 1
Washington University in St. Louis: November 1
Wellesley College: November 1
Yale University: November 1 (Restrictive EA; see Harvard for explanation)
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