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When Applying Early Action Makes Sense

If you want to keep your options open and still get admitted early, consider applying for an early action acceptance.

Early action is the most flexible way to apply early. You can usually apply early to other colleges. If you are accepted, you are not required to attend.

Applying Early Action to More Than One College

Almost all early action policies allow applicants to apply to other schools for early or regular admission decisions. A few highly selective schools, however, employ "restrictive" or "single choice" early action policies. With these programs, students who apply early action are not allowed to apply early decision or early action elsewhere.

What It Takes to Apply Early Action

If you decide to apply for an early action decision, your application deadline will probably fall in November or December. Many students applying early action start working on their applications during the summer before their senior year. You will need to complete all your standardized tests no later than October of your senior year.

When Applying for an Early Action Decision Makes Sense—or Doesn't

Applying early might relieve you of some anxiety, especially if you get accepted. However, it adds stress to your fall semester—when you should be focusing on your grades. And it makes no sense to apply to colleges you know little about. Do the research to be sure your early action colleges have the academic, campus, and social qualities you want. Also, if you don't meet a college's admissions standards, applying early won't help. You are better off improving your grades and applying for a regular decision.

Suppose You Don't Get Accepted?

If a college does not accept you under early action, you may still have a chance to get in. The college may automatically add you to its regular admission application pool. If it does not, you are free to reapply by the regular admission deadline. Check the admission policies of each college you're interested in.

Other Ways to Get Admitted Early

Many colleges provide other options to shorten your time waiting for a decision. Some schools have "rolling" admissions, which means they accept applications all year until their class fills, and usually send decisions within a few weeks of receiving your application. Some schools offer "second round" early action programs that let you apply by the regular deadline but get your answer sooner than normal.

What's Next?

  • Use College Match to find out if your favorite colleges offer early action and what the application deadlines are.
  • Use College Chances to see if your odds of admission improve if you apply early.
  • Take a look at Should You Apply Early Admission? and figure out if applying early action or early decision is right for you.
For Students Age 18 and Older

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
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+ CD$
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Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.