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Early Action vs. Early Decision: Which is best for you?

What’s more exciting in the life of admissions than the holidays, our birthdays, and perhaps even (dare I say it) Rafinesque Week?

The Early Action Deadline!

This time of the year is filled with the sounds of bells ringing (mainly from telephones) with questions about the application process.  One of the most common questions we received involve Early Action and Early Decision deadlines. Allow us to explain.

Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) deadlines are NOT the same. 

1. Early Decision (ED) – Transylvania DOES NOT have Early Decision. If a student decides to apply Early Decision to an institution, they are signing a contract in which they commit to attend that institution if they are admitted.  This can be tricky, as students are committing to attend an institution (assuming they are admitted) without any prior knowledge of financial aid or scholarships that will be offered to them. The upside?You have a guaranteed seat if admitted. The downside? You are committed to a school which you are unable to afford, but are locked into a contract to attend.

2. Early Action (EA) – Transylvania DOES have Early Action. Early Action is NOT a binding decision. Applying Early Action often provides several benefits. At Transy..

  1. EA students to receive notification of admissions decisions and scholarship awards earlier than others,
  2. Students are considered for top merit scholarships of the Premier Scholarship Program, and
  3. Students are under NO OBLIGATION TO ATTEND  if admitted

Just like other students, the final decision on attendance must be decided the national decision deadline – May 1.

Want a more real-life example? Meet Susie Senior.


Susie Senior is considering two universities – the University of Awesome and Cool College. Susie really likes both universities, but finances are a big concern for her and her family.

Susie decides to apply Early Decision to the University of Awesome and Early Action to Cool College.  After applying, Susie went on a campus visit at Cool College and fell in love – she thinks it would be the perfect fit for her.  During her campus visit Susie also learns about some fantastic scholarships that she will likely qualify for at Cool College. Suddenly, the University of Awesome seems…not-so-awesome.


When Susie returns home from her visit at Cool College there’s a letter waiting in her mailbox from the University of Awesome – she has been admitted with a modest scholarship.

Despite Susie’s love for Cool College, she is obligated to attend the University of Awesome because she applied Early Decision and was admitted.  It’s a sad situation for Susie Senior.

Don’t be Susie Senior. 

It’s always better to have multiple options than to limit yourself.  You never know what might happen!


Are you ready to apply? Apply now via the Transy App or Common App before the Early Action I (Oct. 31) or Early Action II (Dec. 1) deadline!