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Early Action and Early Decision Plans in College Admission

  • College Counseling
Robert Lamb

This year over 90% of Sage Ridge seniors applied to college through Early Action (EA) or Early Decision (ED) plans, thereby meeting the November 1st application deadline for around 40 admissions offices while setting a new record for SRS. It’s not surprising that more students apply EA/ED each year, since the odds of admission at most elite colleges increases when students apply with these plans. ED (a contractual agreement between applicant and college) was initially designed for student-athletes recruited to play NCAA sports (mainly in Division 1 athletics), but now both ED and EA (a non-binding plan) serve as strategic ways for competitive applicants of all stripes to leverage their high grades and test scores and stellar extra-curricular activities for early admission to top colleges and universities. ED and EA admission notifications are typically released in mid-December, which, depending on the outcomes, can affect applicants’ approach to the later Regular Decision (RD) and/or ED2 rounds with deadlines on/around January 1st. To compare many early admission statistics for the Class of 2023 to regular decision data, here are two useful resources from an independent college consulting group called Top Tier Admissions:


To help students craft a college list that fits with their qualifications, we have started using an online system called College Kickstart, which aligns their academic credentials (GPA and test scores) with college selectivity and helps them form a realistic plan around three key questions:

1.       Is my list balanced and set up for my success in the admissions process?

2.       How best can I capitalize on early admission opportunities (Early Action/Early Decision)?

3.       How can I work smarter to minimize wasted effort along the way?

The College Kickstart platform draws on admissions data from 500+ top institutions, presents findings in simple, easy-to-understand terms, and provides robust planning reports for students to use to meet deadlines and track their progress. Two of College Kickstart’s recent blog posts relate to EA/ED statistics and strategies as well:

·         Early Decision Schools That Double Admission Odds

·         Boost Your Odds 50% with These Early Action Schools


If you have any questions regarding EA/ED plans or the college application process, please contact Rob Lamb, Director of College Counseling at

  • college counseling
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