Not to be confused with early decision, Early Action is an application option for many colleges that is non-binding. The only difference between this and regular decision is that you know the college’s decision earlier and you more than likely will not know financially how things may work out.
Depending on the school, most Early Action deadlines are December 1. Some schools, such as The University of Chicago, have an Early Action deadline of November 1. Although it may seem extremely rushed, these deadlines are in fact are easily met. This is a benefit of building your college list early. If you know your colleges early in your senior year and realize you have these opportunities to apply early, then take advantage of these earlier deadlines! Not only will you know much sooner whether or not you are accepted, you will also have that school out of the way.
Although many schools do offer this as an option when applying, I noticed that many of my schools seemed to only offer Early Decision. When applying for Early Decision, this is a binding commitment to attending that school, no matter what. This of course can be a very dangerous path to take. I have always thought that Early Decision is not necessarily a smart idea. Sure, a college may be your dream college, but there are many factors to consider when you receive that letter of acceptance. Can I afford it? Do I REALLY want to attend this school? Should I have taken a campus tour before I applied? By applying for Early Decision, you can ultimately trap yourself. I believe more schools should adopt the idea of Early Action for students who want to know their options early, but still desire to choose where the end up going.
When applying to a college, see if they have Early Action. But be sure not to mistake Early Decision for Early Action because that could change everything!